Tips for Searching for the Perfect Home
The process of finding your perfect home can be exciting at times, then feel completely overwhelming, and then become inspiring again, and sometimes all in the same day. With the current coronavirus pandemic making everything seem that much harder, there is even more to keep in mind- from setting up virtual home tours so you can scope out prospective homes remotely to what the pandemic might mean for your changing needs.
The good news is that there are plenty of tricks, tips, and resources available to assist you with the sometimes daunting process, so you can focus on the important things- and know what to keep in mind.
Let’s take a look at some top tips to help guide you through your search for the perfect home.
Search Within Your Range
Before you even begin reviewing properties, you will definitely want to take an honest look at your resources. Realistically speaking, what kind of budget are you working with? You don’t want to set your sights impossibly high on a dream house that you really can’t afford. Honing your search range to houses within your budget will help you stay focused as you sift through the many possibilities available to you. Make sure your budget is wide enough to accommodate a range of options- take note of your “safe zone” and then record your “stretch area” in terms of pricing. Try to be realistic with yourself, but also optimistic. Don’t exceed your maximum budget, but don’t be afraid to spend in the higher zone with upfront costs. Remember, finding your perfect home is a serious investment- and a commitment. You want to make sure the home you find is just right, something that suits your needs, without overstretching your available resources.
Consider the Costs
While we’re on the subject of budgets, here’s a financial tip: take a broad perspective when considering the cost of your home. When you sign that contract for your perfect home, you are not only signing for now, but for the future. Some homes with lower initial price points may end up costing you more in the long run if they come with heavy maintenance, high utility costs, real estate taxes, and hefty insurance fees. Consider all the costs to arrive at a truer number that takes into account the long-term view. It may turn out that springing for that higher price point with high-quality amenities and longer-lasting foundations can help you save in the end.
Make a Plan
The best way to begin your home search process is to sit down and make a plan. Sketch out all of your wants and needs for the big move. Make a list of pointed highlights as a starting point to get your home search mind moving. Why are you searching for a new home to begin with? Do you have a family that just keeps growing? In that case, you’ll want to expand, and a larger home size with a high number of bedrooms will likely be an important factor in your search. Or are you retiring and looking to downsize and simplify? If that is the case, your priorities will be different.
Include as much detail as possible on your master plan, laying out every ideal feature your perfect home should have, from ample outdoor space to super high-speed internet. Don’t be afraid to dream big but think practically here also. The more detail you include in the plan, the clearer your picture of the perfect home will be and the more prepared you will be to recognize it when you find it.
What is Most Important?
Finding your perfect home can be a tricky balancing act between ideal price point, ideal location, and ideal amenities. But you can be better prepared for this kind of negotiation by returning to your detailed master plan. Go through all the notes you have set out here and star the ones that are the most important for your home search. That way, you can easily- and visually- assess what your top priorities are, which can help you focus on making the big decisions. Returning to a narrowed field makes navigating the home search process much more manageable and working with a clearly outlined plan can help you do that.
Once you begin viewing properties, you can keep a running note sheet alongside your master plan. That way you can easily reference back and forth. Note down the pros and cons of each space you visit- whether that visit takes place virtually or in person. Could you see yourself living in that space? What do you love about it and what would you change? Keep track of what stood out to you- both positive and negative factors are important- so that you can easily compare and reference specific options when it is time to make your decision.
If possible, arrange a “test run”- many homes are still offered as rentals while they are on the market for sale. Stay in the home a few nights to get a clearer sense of what it would be like to live there. Is there street noise from nearby traffic? How about the natural lighting?
When you are searching for the perfect home, be sure to picture yourself and your family in the home space. Consider all the factors. Are there enough areas to accommodate your needs? Would you put a home office for remote working in a particular room or space? What about a place for remote learning, or exercise? Take note of all the particulars each prospective home has to offer and take your time imagining what your life would look like moving through that space every day. With a strong balance of all the factors at play, you can find a perfect home that suits you.