When shopping for a new home, especially if you are a new home buyer, it is important for you think about what you want before you buy. One thing I have my clients do before we go house hunting is to sit down and make a list of the things they MUST have in the new home, and the things that would be nice to have, but don’t really need if it came down to a hard decision. By going through the action of putting something on paper, a home buyer is forced into reality.

One reality often discovered is the fact that two home buyers may not want the same things. Take for instance a couple I worked with recently. The husband was happy with a home that needed a little work because the home was in a good location and would hold its value in the future. Any updating they did would only add more future value to the home. The wife however would rather buy a completely updated home and pay more for it now. Every home we entered was picked apart by one or the other. Needless to say, they were not on the same page.

It came to a point when I stopped the process and asked them to sit down at a meeting. I told them it seemed they were not ready to buy a home because they didn’t really know what would work for the BOTH of them. If they cannot agree or compromise on the amenities they want, then what was the point of wasting everyone’s time. Funny enough, they both agreed that a huge talk was in order. One week later, they came back to me with a revised list of “have and have-nots”…we found a home with-in a few days that both loved. Once they faced the reality of the decision making process, they found something both could live with.

In other cases, I have shown buyers what they think they wanted, only to find out it was the exact opposite. In instances like this, it works out really well if I show them two extremes in their price range, and then they can tell me which better suits them…kind of like telling them to rate a home between 1-10.

Here are some things to consider when buying your next home:

  • Location – many people just can’t compromise on this, but if you can’t afford the neighborhood or town you want to live in, then go further out to a neighborhood you like and can afford
  • Price Range – make sure you can afford the homes you view. Don’t even think about looking at homes outside your price range that you could only afford with a low ball offer. It wastes every one’s time.
  • Lot – think about if you want a large lot, small lot, trees, etc. Do you love to work in the yard? Do you hate to mow grass? Figure this out and you can greatly narrow down the homes to view.
  • Wood – do you hate oak cabinets? Now a days, many home buyers do and want different types of wood in the home. You will have to think about replacement costs for any wood you hate, or if you even want to go through the hassle. I know I hate oak and wouldn’t even consider a home with these types of cabinets…unless it was for the right price.
  • New vs. Old – This is a big decision factor. In today’s real estate market, new construction home builders are giving some pretty good incentives that rival resale homes. It could be a good way to go, especially if you would like help with closing costs as some builders are offering up to $7500 toward these costs.

So the bottom line is this, KNOW what you want BEFORE you go house hunting. And if there are two or more people involved in the decision making process, take a look at the reality of your situation and find a happy medium in which all of you can live with.