Buying a new home is a big step, whether you’re a first-time home buyer, or you’re moving up, or moving down, there are a few proven strategies to make the entire process less stressful and to insure that you’re happy with the outcome. A little pre-planning and a relationship with a good realtor are steps in the right direction.
First: Understand Your Needs
Think beyond just the basic considerations of a single-family home vs. a condo or town-home and consider your lifestyle. Think about how you actually spend your time at home. Are you an outdoors lover? Do you enjoy gardening? Does a bar-b-queue on the deck sound appealing? Or would you rather curl up with a glass of wine by the fire in the living room. Consider how you entertain (or not) and how that might influence your ideal floor plan.
All this thinking should guide you to a list of features and functions that your ideal home, and its surroundings, should offer. Write them down and prioritize them with:
A: Must Have
B: Should Have
C: Could Have
Then use your findings as an actual checklist when it’s time to tour properties.
Next: Map Out Your Ideal Budget
Beyond the obvious issues of loans, down payments, interest rates, credit reports, banks and the like, a big question is, What can you afford or better yet, What do you want to afford? If you’re moving-up or moving-down, you already have a pretty good picture of your monthly budget and how a mortgage payment impacts your financial needs each month. But, as a first-time home-buyer, you will want to spend more time with these types of calculations and add in some of the unanticipated expenses like; on-going maintenance, homeowner’s association dues, etc.
An upfront budget will help guide your decision-making when it comes to trade-offs vs. home prices. You will know exactly what you may need to give-up or compromise on in your budget in order to get that larger master-bathroom or third garage bay. With a budget, you’re making intelligent decisions up-front.
Third: Get A Good Realtor
You’re surprised that you’d find a recommendation for getting a good Realtor on a real estate agent website? Seriously, the right real estate agent can make all the difference. But it’s important to understand how to make your choices.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about a relationship with a real estate agent.
Does the agent truly understand the market you’re considering buying in? With the changes brought on by the recent economic turmoil it’s safe to say that every property and seller has been affected in one way or another. An agent who is active and truly engaged with a market has a greater understanding and better view of pricing issues and opportunities.
Do you have a good rapport with your agent and is there a personality fit? You’re going to be spending a fair amount of time with your real estate agent, and with almost every transaction there are bound to be a few rough spots, so finding an agent with the right temperament one who really listens carefully to your needs is paramount. You’re looking for an agent who wants to meet your needs and fit your approach, not one who just wants to sell you a house.
Let’s Get Started
So, a little planning about your ideal property and a realistic view of what you want to afford can make all the difference in your Star Valley real estate hunt.