I sometimes feel like the rules or protocol in the real estate industry is a lot like the food industry. One minute something is great for you, the next minute it's bad for you and causes cancer. It can be difficult for homebuyers to understand what they should and shouldn't do or simply what will give them the best results. We tell them to buy quickly to get the best price and the best house, then we tell them to wait and make sure. So what are they to believe?
I believe that if you're looking for a long-term relationship with your home, there are some nonnegotiable's to consider and deal breakers. When it comes to a forever home, making a list of absolute must-haves can help you stay on track. These could include location, price, and home size or you can get more specific such as being within a school district, the layout, or how many bedrooms and bathrooms you require.
A lot of times you can fall in love with the house on your first walk-through, and other times you might be drawn back to that first one you looked at a few weeks ago. Think about what's drawing you to a particular house and if there are any negatives or cons about it.
Just as if you are dating and not falling in love at first sight, you can take a look at the environment around the house you may be in love with to find out if the location and similar properties are something you are interested in. Are all the other homes in the area in disrepair or are you buying the most expensive home in the neighborhood that just won't hold its value? Will you be considering resale value when buying? Homes are an investment and most of the time the best investments have the most room for improvement. Building equity is crucial for a move up home at a later time.
Then it comes down to competition. Are there a lot of other people eyeing the home as well? Are you going to need to make a fast decision or very competitive offer? Don't just try to win the property if you don't really want it but are just being competitive. Sometimes a home that's unpopular because it's been on the market for a while can have the opposite effect on us. We might think there's really something wrong with it when it just hasn't been snapped up by someone else. Don't be too convinced by properties that have been on the market for a while.
Sometimes the very first house you look at turns out to be the one you want. But talk to your real estate agent, get some advice and really take a hard look at the entire picture, not just the bones of the house. Is this something that you can love long-term?
If you can, great! If not, time to move on.