When you are buying a home, searching can be the fun part… deciding which one to buy the hard part! Here are some tips to help you decide when to take the big step and make an offer.
Know your top priority and keep your eye on the prize.
Everyone has different priorities and ‘must have’ features… spend time to get to know your ‘non-negotiables’ and don’t even consider properties that don’t meet those requirements. Some examples: neighborhood, best ‘deal’, most potential, easy to sell/rent in the future, cook’s kitchen, move-in ready, one-level living, environment friendly, near bus line/LRT, certain style, main floor bedroom, privacy, view, noise, smells, parks and trails nearby, places for kids and pets to to play.
Most people search for a home with their mind, but buy with their heart
This means that you might find the home that is right for you that falls short of some of your requirements. Especially when homes for sale are in short supply this is an important factor to keep in mind. Consider re-defining your requirements or timeline... it may require more patience.
If you have been searching for a long time and aren’t finding anything, try expanding your search parameters… identify what you truly must have or you won’t buy, then remove the rest of your requirements.
For example, many people select 3 bedrooms as a requirement, planning to use the third bedroom as an office or guest room. You may find a home with only 2 bedrooms that has another space that could be used as an office. The same goes for 2 bedrooms vs 1.
Square footage can also be deceiving because it depends so much on the floorplan. Some homes with bigger square footage feel smaller than smaller ones because of hallways or a maze of separate rooms. An open floor plan can make a huge difference in livability and how big the space feels.Even location can sometimes be surprising. There may be a great neighborhood for you that you haven’t discovered yet. Driving neighborhoods can be a great way to identify locations that feel good to you… and as your Realtor, we may be able to suggest other areas that have a similar feel.
If the location of a property seems like it could be a fit, check it out even if it doesn’t quite fit all your criteria… you could be surprised. You may know almost as soon as you walk in the door when you have found the right home, even before you check out all the details. It’s a delicate balance of needs, wants and aesthetics that just makes it feel right.
Bottom line… finding the right home for you is about more than just a list of requirements… there is an intangible piece that speaks to your heart that you only get by actually being in the home.
So… how do you know if a home is right for you?
- Mentally move into the space and picture how you would live there, going through a day, week, month, year… does it fit how you live?
- Consider your life 5-10 years from now… how does it fit with your future plans? Is it adaptable for unexpected life changes?
- Spend time in the area at different times of day and walk the neighborhood… talk to people you encounter to learn about the community and the people who live there… is this a community you want to be a part of?
Here are some signs you have found the right home for you…
- It feels good as soon as you enter… as you go through it you find that instead of finding reasons not to buy, you are looking for affirmation that it continues to feel good and this is the right home
- You forgive flaws… every home has flaws, but you find yourself making excuses for the flaws in this home, willing to overlook them because the rest of the home feels so good
- You find yourself mentally moving in, arranging furniture, changing paint colors, making updates… this is an important sign that you feel like you could live here, and you are ready to fix it up to truly make it yours
- You remember every detail… after seeing tons of houses most of them blur together, but this one stands out and is emblazoned in your memory
- You feel happy… rather than worrying, you relax and breathe a sigh of relief that this feels like home and you would be proud to live here
- You can’t imagine someone else moving into ‘your home’… ask yourself how you would feel if you decided to make an offer, only to learn someone else already did and it was gone… if you get a pit in your stomach, it is time to make that offer
Recognize that when you make an offer it is time to stop seriously looking for a home. If you aren’t ready to stop looking, you may not be ready to commit… unless you love looking so much you aren’t ready to be done with the ‘fun’ part… know which it is.
Also know that you can continue to ‘window shop’ long after you buy a home…I have clients who continue to look at listing updates from me for years after buying… for the fun of it!
Ready to get started looking for real? Contact me to set up a time to get together, I would love to help!