Having trouble finding the “perfect” home?
If you’re not finding the “perfect” home as soon as you’d like, it’s easy to become frustrated and feel as though you are at the whim of the market. I’m here to tell you that staying patient is not your only option. What you can do to regain control over your home search is take a more strategic approach to the inventory you’re looking for. By categorizing your search into three specific fields, you can take more control over your search by understanding what is realistic and how that reality compares to your dream home. The truth is, fantasizing about your dream home tends to be a very romanticized process, as if we could simply manifest the home of our dreams and it will magically appear on the market within days…but it’s not always that easy. When it comes to finding that home, you may learn that some changes in your plan need to occur in order to get your ideal outcome. If you are feeling discouraged with the current findings of your home search, consider utilizing this strategic approach I advise my buyer clients.
- First, consider your budget. Knowing the upper limit of your search range is an important part of your search. Getting crystal clear on your finances will save you a lot of time you may have otherwise wasted looking for houses that don’t match your budget. Under-budgeting yourself because you were unaware of the kind of loan you could get, on the other hand, will restrict you from seeing properties that may be perfect for you, but you didn’t know were a realistic option! If you’re getting a loan, meet with a financial professional to plan out a budget that works for you. I recommend contacting at least three mortgage lenders to learn about different types of home loans and ensure you’re getting a good rate. You’ll want to get clear on your mortgage payments including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Understanding this will allow you choose a mortgage with confidence and shop for a home with clarity on your price range.
- Next, consider your desired location. Cities, towns, and neighborhoods all come with individual nuances which set them apart. Certain types of homes, architecture styles, lot shapes, yard sizes, and so on may differ depending on the area. A lot of factors co these differences such as the year the neighborhood was developed, who the predominant developer or architects were at that time, and even physical features of the terrain such as nearby hills, the flatness of the land, or nearby structures. If you are at the beginning of your search, I usually recommend shopping with a wider lens in order to see what’s available in different neighborhoods. Limiting yourself to a very small location range may push your search on a longer timeline in order for inventory to become available that meets all of your needs. If you are going to limit your search to a certain neighborhood, do your research and make sure that area actually accommodates the features you’re looking for.
- Finally, consider the specific home features that are important to you. Make a list of everything your house must have to fits your needs (I.e. number of bedrooms, bathrooms, a garage, accessibility…). Make a second list of all the features you’d like to have but are not totally necessary (walk-in closets, pool, marble countertops). Prepare yourself to NOT find every single item on both lists and start to visualize what will make you truly happy.
As you progress with your home search, you will soon realize what is realistic based on those three categories. If it seems like your ideal list for all three isn’t possible, try altering one category of your search at a time. For example, if you are not open to changing your price range, expanding your search to more locations may provide you with options you weren’t seeing before. You might find that a home with all the bedrooms and square footage you want within a certain price range is available in a town you weren’t previously looking at. If you’re not open to changing your location, you may need to consider that the home features you desire may come at a higher price point. For example, although it sounds great, it’s probably unrealistic to find a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 3,000 square foot home for under one million dollars in Marin, so knowing the average price of homes or price per square foot in your area is important so you can manage your expectations. Understanding these categories as they pertain to your market will empower you to be realistic about your home search. As always, I recommend reaching out to a licensed professional who can continue to help you save time, money, and energy with your next home purchase. Feel free to reach out to me anytime, I'd love to help you find your next home!
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