Learn How to Prioritize Your Wish List and Find House-hunting Success This Year
The spring 2022 real estate market continues to be competitive. Many buyers begin with a clear picture of what they want in a home, only to find few properties that check all the boxes.
You don’t want buyer’s remorse or major headaches because you bought a house that doesn’t fit your family’s needs. You also don’t want to hold out for a “unicorn” home that hits every mark.
So, what should you do if you plan to buy a home this year? In this post, we’re sharing the advice that we give Rutledge Properties clients to help them minimize home search stress and find a property that they love.
Focus on the Things You Can’t Change When Setting Your Priorities
There are a few things that you should make non-negotiable, no matter what. These are things like location, land, and home style. Understanding what you’re willing to accept and what would make you veto a potential property in these three categories is crucial.
We have all heard about the importance of "location, location, location".
You cannot change where your house is located, no matter how much you spend. Location considerations go beyond whether or not you like the town. You want to ask yourself questions like:
- Does the neighborhood feel good to you?
- Is there enough distance between you and your neighbors to feel comfortable?
- Are there sidewalks, and does that matter?
- How close are you to desirable community amenities like walking trails or playgrounds?
- Are there nearby noise or safety concerns, like train tracks or an Amazon fulfillment center with lots of truck traffic?
The Land Needs to Fit Your Vision
The size, shape, and quality of a plot of land will dictate what you can do as a homeowner.
When looking at potential homes, your Real Estate Agent can help you understand the zoning restrictions in case you’re considering an addition in the future. It’s helpful to know whether you can add by right or if you’ll be in for a lengthy housing board review.
You’ll also want to ask yourself:
- Am I prepared to maintain this large of a yard or budget for professional landscaping?
- Will the shape of the plot accommodate future additions planned?
- Is the home in a flood zone, and is that a risk I want to take on?
- Is the yard large enough? Flat enough? Too wooded?
You Can’t Easily Change Your Home Style and Ceiling Height
Some very creative home renovations are possible, but they usually involve a lot of time, money, and jumping through hoops. The bottom line? Don’t buy a split-entry and expect you can turn it into a colonial. And while some ceilings can be vaulted, changing the ceiling heights throughout a home is a big—and sometimes impossible—and task.
Make sure that you are clear on which home styles will work for you and your family before submitting that offer.
Don’t Compromise on Your “Must-Have” Home Features, but Be Open About Your “nice-to-haves.”
Beyond the considerations above, you want to be clear on your priorities. These are home features that your family has to have. You may need to maintain a certain distance from your workplace or a relative's home. Or you might need a minimum number of bedrooms or bathrooms (adding beds and baths is a big undertaking!).
Once those must-haves are solidified, determine where you can be less rigid in your wants. Remember, you can find a home that you love, but it's unlikely you'll find a home that has it all. Ask yourself:
- Is it possible to cast a broader net for possible towns?
- Can the kids share a bedroom?
- Am I okay with a “meh” kitchen now, knowing I can redo it once we move in?
- Am I willing to install a ductless air conditioning system in an older home?
Try to have an open mind about flexible spaces within a home. For instance, maybe the gorgeous sunroom could become a home office or a playroom that the house is missing.
Once you are clear about what matters most, talk to your Real Estate Agent! They can help you identify properties that meet your needs and steer you away from those destined to leave you heartbroken. This market requires a little more flexibility, but it IS possible to find a home you love in 2022!
Need help buying your next home?
Get help from a Rutledge agent today.