When looking at potential homes, homebuyers can be overwhelmed with all of the choices out there. Hundreds of homes are on the market in any given city throughout the year.
Without evaluating every single listing, how can new homebuyers narrow the search down?
Start With the Basics
When presented with a myriad of choices, it is best to put first things first. The buyer’s budget, type of home, the number of beds and baths, and location are the cornerstones of any property search.
Every potential buyer would love to have a multi-million dollar budget when looking for their dream home. However, for most buyers, this is not the case. Having a realistic budget in mind will be an important factor in narrowing the initial home search.
Type of Home
Depending on where you live, you may have several different options of home types available to you. Single family homes are very common in many neighborhoods while town homes and condos are widely available in urban areas. Each type of home comes with advantages and disadvantages. For example, a buyer will find more freedom and seclusion in a single family home, while a condo owner will have less maintenance and yard work to handle.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Depending on the size of your household, the number of beds and baths you will need will vary. According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, the typical buyer of a single family home will live in their home for about 13 years before moving out. When buying a home, think about not only your current needs but where you will be in the next decade and plan accordingly.
The saying “location, location, location” is familiar for a reason. Most buyers have a dream neighborhood that they would love to live in. The problem is that the dream neighborhood may be out of their budget. If you can be flexible on your desired neighborhood or school district, you may find a wider range of options and prices. Keep in mind other location specific details such as proximity to shopping, public transportation, or the airport that are important to your daily life.
Other common property wish list items range in importance depending on the buyer. While one buyer may rank a formal dining room as vitally important, another may have little use for that dedicated space. Making a list of preferences and ranking them in importance can help you evaluate which of these are deal breakers and which you can be flexible on.
- Square footage: It’s good to have a range of square footage in mind before searching.
- Property age: From new construction to historic homes, buyers have a wide selection of properties to choose from.
- Designated space for dining, guests, or study: Do you need a home office? Do you envision space for entertaining?
- Outdoor space: Yard? No Yard? Maintenance free living? Consider how much outdoor space you really need or want.
- Fixer-upper: Some people love a great DIY project and others can’t think of anything worse. From cosmetic touches to major bathroom renovations, homes can be found in all states of repair or disrepair.
- Amenities: Most buyers have strong preferences for a home’s amenities such as wood floors, an updated kitchen, or curb appeal. Consider what you must have at move-in and what you can remodel yourself to make the home your own.
The key to a property wish list is to truly identify the home characteristics that are needs, not simply wants. Focusing on your needs early will allow your agent to narrow the property search and focus on homes that are great options for you.