The decision-making process is more complex than you may think
Buying a home is a big deal. It takes focus and dedication to the process to get it right. You will make a list of what you want & need in a home. You and your partner will choose a neighborhood after considering your daily commute and other important factors. And even when you've checked off all the "must-haves" on your list, you could be missing an important piece of the process.
There are subtle details that can drive your decision-making process Understanding what drives your choices will help you make a more informed decision.
First, have a heart to heart conversation with your partner about what you see yourself doing in your home and neighborhood. For example, when I was a first time home buyer, I didn't tell Marshall that I could see us reading to our children in a family room with a fireplace. I never mentioned this because I didn't recognize how important it was to me.
When we started touring houses and seeing homes with and without fireplaces, I realized it was time to share my dream with my husband. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider if you are planning to buy a home.
- Is your real estate agent working for you 100% - Some real estate agents work for a Brokerage that encourages agents to sell their in-house listings or inventory. We've had several clients tell us nightmare stories of agents showing them houses that don't meet their needs or criteria. Remember, you have the right to be fully represented 100% of the time by your agent. After all, you are bringing the money that will finance much the transaction. Choose your agent very carefully!
- Carefully review HOA & Condo documents - HOA documents will govern what you plant in your yard and how you paint and decorate your home. Condo documents have rules regarding the care and maintenance of the common shared areas of your building. If you have a problem with the rules, you should not purchase a condo or home. You will have a period of review, in Virginia its 3 days for condo and HOA documents. In the District its 3 business days for condo and HOA documents and in Maryland, you have 7 days to review condo documents and 5 days to review HOA documents with a few minor exceptions.
- Don't buy a house that is at the top of your budget - You want to have enough money to make your house feel like a home. Make sure you are not stretching yourself too thin financially. Again, here's where your real estate agent can work with you to stay within your budget.
- Have an honest discussion with your partner about your expectations & fears - This should probably be #1 on the list of things to do. What scares you about owning a home? What steps can you take to avoid manifesting those fears? What do you expect from your new home? If you're buying a used home, like most of us do, are you being realistic about the maintenance responsibilities? If you are don't know anything about home repair, ask your buyers agent for a list of people they recommend. Your buyer agent should be a good source of information even after you purchase your home.