As home has become more and more the place where we live, work, go to school, and play it has become more important than ever… and more and more people are dreaming of moving to gain better living space both inside and outside.
Finding your perfect home and neighborhood are actually pieces of a larger puzzle that make up your smart home buying plan. Searching without a plan is like throwing darts without a target and can waste a lot of time and money… maybe fun in the early stages of just considering buying but more likely frustrating when the time comes that you are really ready to find your new home.Start your smart home buying plan by defining the following four factors…
1. LIFESTYLE GOALS
- Do you want to be close to work or will you be working from home so that doesn’t matter? What about parks and lakes, recreation, shopping, restaurants and coffee shops, schools? Do you want to be within walking distance? biking distance? near public transportation? or don’t these things matter to you?
- Do prefer the vibe of an urban lifestyle or a suburban lifestyle with more privacy and wide open spaces?
- Do you want move-in ready or do you like doing renovations/updates to make it your own? What about ongoing maintenance… do you enjoy working on projects around the home or not?
- Don’t choose a condo or townhouse instead of a house simply because of snow and lawn care, you can hire that done at a house just as an association does for a condo or townhouse. But do you like the security of having someone else caring for everything outside your living space… giving you freedom from that worry, more freedom to travel, etc? What about the amenities of a condo/townhouse association such as pool, exercise room, party room, etc… is that something you would use and enjoy or would it simply be an ongoing expense, even when you are not there?
2. HOME FEATURES
- Think about what is important to you inside your home… room sizes, privacy, office space, school/zoom rooms, exercise space, kitchen, flooring, stairs (or no stairs), number of bathrooms, master suite, closets, windows/daylight, traffic flow, space for pets, etc
- Is a spectacular view or a fenced yard important to you… or something else?
- Is construction style important to you? If you like older and historic are you prepared to deal with the potential of radiators, lack of central air conditioning, detached smaller garages, etc?
- Decide on your non-negotiable items and don’t waste time looking at properties that don’t fill those needs
3. FINANCIAL GOALS AND RESOURCES
- The financial impact of buying a home is more than the cost of the monthly mortgage payment, which usually includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI)
- Don’t forget to factor in other ongoing costs such as utilities, maintenance and repairs… and be prepared for big ticket items such as furnace, roof, siding, flooring, water heater, etc… it’s not a question of if they will need replacing, just when
- Factor in the potential for value appreciation/depreciation… its most important use is as your home, but it is also an investment which rises and falls with the market
- Talk to your financial planner about how buying a home factors into your long-term financial goals… don’t think that just because you are a young first-time home buyer you shouldn’t have a long-term financial plan
4. BUYING TIMEFRAME
- How soon do you plan to buy? Do you need to sell first? Do you have your financing approval in place? Do you have to improve your credit score before you are approved? Are there other factors that need to be resolved before you even start looking?
- How long do you plan to live in your new home? Think ahead to what you expect your life situation will be like at the end as well as when you buy… will more/fewer people be living in the home? are the living spaces adaptable for different life stages when you plan to live in your home?
- Always buy with resale in mind… life happens, and situations change… even if you plan to stay in your home for a long time always buy with resale in mind to help you make smart choices
Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – email@example.com