“How to Find the Perfect Home for You (and Your Budget!)” Series
In this 8-part series, How to Find the Perfect 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.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might be unsure of the process of buying a home, or even if you want to at all! This article is here to help you fill in some of the blanks and do the necessary soul-searching to determine if it’s right for you!
There’s a very specific formula and step-by-step approach that homebuyers (like you!) should 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 (and then you are prepared to quickly put in an offer with confidence when you reach that point!).
Don’t Skip These 3 Steps!
First, you should have determined your deal breakers, “must haves”, and lifestyle goals. That process was covered in a previous article from this series —12 Questions to Answer Before You Step Foot in an Open House. Go back and read it again if you need to, and then you can move forward once you’ve answered the 12 questions.
Now you’re ready for the next three important steps. But do not bypass these steps since you’ll end up wasting time, getting confused, and, ultimately, buying a home that you will regret.
1. Be 100% sure you want to be a homeowner
Many people – especially first-time buyers – 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 fire way to make 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.
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 once you find and buy the right home, THEN you’ll want to be a homeowner. That’s backwards!
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 going down the (often 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.
I call this immediate gratification syndrome. Don’t let it get the best of you!
It’s understandable that if you’ve been waiting all your life to have enough money, to be settled in your job and life, and now FINALLY(!) you’re ready to buy your first home. But you can’t just wake up one day and go buy 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 mate (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. Right?!
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 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.
Start with getting recommendations from friends and family or look online. Think about where they bought and their price range. Only ask people in your life who would be buying something similar. Ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the agent they worked with.
Once you have a list, reach out to at least two to three agents and ask them how they work and where they have sold homes recently and in what price range. Then set up an appointment to meet them for an initial consultation.
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.
Some internet research on your own is just fine, but 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 and home-buying assistance programs for first-time buyers.
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 in a home even better than you may at this point!
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.
And, finally, make sure you want to spend hours driving around with them every weekend 🙂
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… (continued next week)!
I'm Mike and I love helping buyers discover what's really important in their forever home, then working to find that in Chicago's
Northwest Suburbs. I also have a soft spot in my heart for teachers and love giving back to them whenever I can. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
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or email me!