In this series, How to Find a Home for You and Your Budget, you’ll learn how to find a home that is the right fit for your lifestyle, needs and, most importantly, your budget. It takes you through every single step and shows you how to avoid buyer’s remorse. Your first home is most likely the stepping stone for your next home so you want to do it right and set yourself up financially to move up to your next home.
There’s a formula and an approach that buyers – like you --can take to make sure they end up with the home that best fits their needs and budget. It requires some initial patience on your part so that each step is done right. Then you are prepared to quickly put in an offer with confidence when you reach that point.
Don’t Skip These Three Steps
No one should rush out to purchase a home before they are ready. Remember that slow and steady gets the “prize”! First, determine your deal breakers, “must haves” and lifestyle goals. That process was covered in a previous article from this series --Questions to Answer Before You Step Foot in an Open House. Go back and read it again, and then you can move forward once you’ve answered the questions.
Now you’re ready for the next three important steps.
1. Be 100% sure you want to be a homeowner
Many people start looking for a home before they are truly convinced that buying a home is right for them. (Maybe their friends are doing it, they’re getting older, they’ve rented forever, etc).
They think that by just looking at homes, it will help them make that decision for them. However, this is a sure recipe for making a big mistake!
You must first make the decision that you want to make the commitment to being a homeowner. Buying a home is a big deal and a commitment that you have to be willing to make for at least three to five years, if not more.
Before you go any further, you must decide whether this step in life is something you want to make and then commit to the process of looking for the perfect home, no matter how long that takes.
Depending on the current market, the looking process can be frustrating, difficult, and hard to see through to the goal of becoming a homeowner. Don’t set yourself up to fail by thinking that if you found the right home, then you’ll become a homeowner if you buy it.
Instead, make the conscious decision that buying a home is the right move for you right now—both financially and otherwise—first and foremost. Then you’ll be more committed to go down the (long!) road to becoming a homeowner and not look back.
2. Slow down to get the best fit for you
Oftentimes, we spend so much time thinking about wanting to buy a home that once we make the decision to buy, we want to find a home ASAP.
This is called immediate gratification syndrome. Don’t let it get the best of you!
It’s understandable that you’ve been waiting to have enough money, to be settled in your job and life in order to buy your first home. But you can’t just wake up one day and purchase the first home you see.
It’s truly a process … and you want to make sure you are making the best decision for both your financial life AND for the life you want to live over the next few years. Figuring all that out and having a home that fits your goals does take time. Buying a home is like finding a life partner (Buying home is like falling in love) and just because you decide you are ready to commit doesn’t mean you should marry the first person you go on a date with. Same thing with buying a home — once you've decided buying a home is the commitment you want to make, slow down to find just the right home for the life you want to create. That takes time….
Take a deep breath, slow down and understand the process; you might just enjoy it more and you will find that perfect home!
3. Decide who will represent you
There is a lot more than meets the eye to buying a new construction home. You need someone experienced in the type of home you are buying—price range, location, and loan programs you’ll be best suited for. Not every agent knows how to help every buyer. The agents that you meet at the model home or sales office, represent the builder. They are called sales reps.
If you find a newly built community that you like and choose a floor plan the sales rep might encourage you not to get a realtor but you SHOULD get a real estate agent to represent you. Why? Builders sales reps are juggling multiple customers at a time, making it difficult for them to focus primarily on you. When you get the contract from the builder, the realtor you are working with will review the contract as well. Depending on the current market, they can support you with negotiation. Your real estate agent will walk you through the build process to close which in 2022 can take 6 months to over a year. You want to have some insight into the new construction process before you decide on a real estate agent. You don’t need to know everything about the home-buying process before you meet, they should be educating you about the process and what you need to know to make your first purchase successful. Your agent will get you up to speed on the current real estate market, provide insight on local neighborhoods, and also advise you on mortgage options.
Be honest with your agent and soon you’ll get a sense if you and your agent will be compatible and well-suited together. It’s important to have a good working relationship and be attuned to each other. That way, your agent will “get” you and be able to also anticipate your likes, dislikes, and needs. This is important since you want your agent to guide you toward homes that will work best for you, and your wants, needs, and budget … and not waste time on homes that do not.
Congrats, you did not skip these important three steps! Now you can move forward. It’s time to figure out how to pay for your new home!
Hope you are enjoying this series -- Find a Home for You and Your Budget – and look out for next week’s article. You’ll learn the best way to budget for and finance your first home purchase.