Buying a home, especially in a sellers market, often includes a lot of research in advance. Buyers have to decide what they want, what they need, and what they are likely to get. If they are making the purchase by themselves or with another person, they also need to find consensus between what everyone wants and needs. This is an important step that will help them find the best choice more quickly. With this information, buyers will have ideas of what they can put on a wishlist, as well as tips to prioritize them effectively.
1. Start With Home Buying Needs
In many markets, there are a variety of homes to choose from. Making some decisions in advance helps cut down on buyers' search and time spent looking at properties that do not meet their needs. Setting at least a few preferences will give people a sense for what they expect:
- Location: proximity to certain areas, schools, entertainment
- Property Type: single-family home, townhome, condo or others
- Age and Condition: if the home is move-in ready or needs updating
- Square Footage: size of the house as well as the lot
- Amenities: garage, basement, fireplace, patio
- Bedrooms and Bathrooms: number and size
Although establishing needs in each category is helpful in targeting the search, flexibility is also important. People who set rigid expectations for everything might find themselves more limited than they need to be. Prioritizing needs reduces overwhelm in areas with a glut of housing options. For example, buyers who really need to stay in a particular location becuase of a long or short work commute, may make that their first choice, and look for a variety of properties that meet this criteria.
2. Balance Wants and Needs
When buyers first start thinking about buying a home, distinguishing a need from a want can become quite difficult. For example, someone might need three bedrooms but prefer to have four. To avoid seeming selfish, it can be tempting to distill needs down the bare bones of basic shelter and minor comforts. In areas where available housing is minimal, that might be a necessity. However, if buyers are too disinclined to consider what they really want from a property, they may burn out looking at lots of homes that do not fit their expectations.
Buyers should keep in mind that this information is not just for them, but for their real estate agents, as well. Providing a detailed list of expectations with a handful of additional wants, like:
- gourmet kitchen
- luxury master bathroom
- large garage with extra storage space
- covered porch
helps agents browse listings and arrange showings on the best choices.
3. Get Consensus
Making a financial decision as big as a home purchase tends to bring conflicts, especially when people are not buying by themselves. Newlyweds and people who have been married or otherwise together for many years can find that their preferences for wants and needs differ significantly. To ensure that each person gets their needs met, they should create a separate list of wants and needs. With this information, they can negotiate which aspects to prioritize. And if there are minor children, their needs should also come into consideration. Moving represents a big transition for children, and knowing that part of the home is for them can make it easier.
4. Check Out Available Properties
Sometimes, what people want and need clashes with reality. Having a clearly-defined home buying wishlist only works if the properties in the area can meet most or all of the criteria. As buyers start to refine their expectations, they may want to ensure that there are enough options in the area that they will be able to make a choice. Changing course slightly is better to do on the earlier side than later into the search for housing. This is especially true for people with a limited budget in relation to home prices in their target region.
5. Think About the Future
Most homeowners live in a home for about 13 years, and their needs will change over that time. Nashville home buyers should think about how long they plan to own the property, and how their expectations may evolve. For example, a small condo for a growing family might require selling earlier. Similarly, a larger home for a family with teenagers might seem excessive once they leave the house. People who plan to sell within a few years may want to select a property that is most in demand in the area.
In many cases, buying a home involves looking at a lot of potential properties. Buyers can shorten this part of the process by creating a list of wants and needs that feature clear priorities and a balance of each person's expectations.
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
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