When you’ve done all the less-exciting groundwork that it takes to buy a home (working on your credit score, getting approved, and finding a Realtor), then comes the fun part. Actually shopping for your home! Going to showings, open houses, and mentally decorating each room can be really exciting. But what about the details?
Once you’re in the home search process, that’s when the real questions begin. One story or two story? Old house or new construction? Quaint condo or rambling ranch? Gated community with an HOA or a home out in the boonies? All these questions can feel overwhelming.
Choices, choices, choices
First and foremost, have a sit down, honest conversation with your Realtor. Give them a checklist and explain your reasons. Only you know deep down which house is perfect for you, but your agent can give you a realistic picture of the current market. Any Realtor worth their salt will have a near constant eye on listings, which ones are coming soon, what just became available, and how quickly things are moving. They’ll be able to sit with you, look at your checklist, and give you a realistic forecast on what you can reasonably expect.
When viewing homes, look past the decor. Everyone’s tastes are vastly different. Your neutral palette-shabby chic aesthetic may not vibe with someone who has their house decorated with bold color and large, ornate furniture. Always remember that the current owners’ stuff leaves with them. If you can look past a less desirable paint color or design choice to see the bones underneath, you may find something really stunning.
Additionally, bring a camera to all your viewings. The more houses you see, the more they’ll start to run together. You could forget details, things you like, or worse, things you didn’t.
Finally, trust your gut. Yes, a lot of the home buying process is about sticking to budgets and searching in your desired school district… but what about emotion? Emotion plays a big role in the hunt. If you view a home that might not have something on your must-have list, but you still feel that deep emotional pull to it, there may be something there. You might realize that must-have isn’t really a must-have after all.
Up next… how to make an offer AND get that offer accepted!