Country Mile Realtors

First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide: Identify What You Need

First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide: Identify What You Need

Homebuying: Needs vs. Wants

By: Marilyn Haber, Brokerage Owner, Country Mile Realtors

Let me start with this rather humorous, yet surprising observation. Sometimes, what clients think they’d never buy, they end up buying, and sometimes what they say is a mandatory, must-have feature in a home, they end up buying without “it.” Why? Because they fell in love with the home.

Buying a home can be a very personal and a very emotional experience. That’s why it’s important to be intentional about knowing what you need in a home versus what you want before you start looking.  Here are a few guidelines to get you started.

Know How Much You Want to Spend

We already covered getting pre-approved in our first blog. So, you should have a strong idea of how much you want to spend versus how much you’re approved to borrow.  There’s a difference. Just remember, you’ll want to enjoy your home and not just work ‘round the clock to pay your mortgage.

Identify Where You Want to Live – “Location, Location, Location”

School Districts – Some buyers, especially parents of school-aged children, want their children to go to a certain school district. So, know what that is, and tell your agent which district you want your children to attend school in. That way, your agent will know where to focus their search.

Neighborhoods – Maybe you want to live in a specific subdivision, or maybe you need to live near shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Or, perhaps you prefer the peace associated with living on a quiet cul-de-sac. Letting your agent know your preferences is a tremendous help.

Zoning – If you have farm animals or intend to get some, be sure to tell your agent that you need a property that allows for your farm animals. Let your agent do the homework and search for properties in an area that you like that’s also zoned to allow farm animals (e.g. agricultural).

Commute Time– Be sure to let your realtor know how far you’re willing to commute to work. So, that he or she can ensure whatever homes they show you are within that radius.

Know What Home Type You Like

There are a LOT of home types out there, so know if you need a single-family home for your growing family. Or, if you and your spouse are recently retired and looking to downsize, maybe you’d like to see some condos or townhomes.

Maybe you’re an investor and would like a duplex or multi-family home. Some of my clients choose to live in one side of a duplex and rent out the other for income.

Identify What Rooms & How Much Space You Need

Bedrooms & Baths – Maybe you have a large family and require a minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Let your agent know what you absolutely need and also let them know what your dream scenario would be. Then, they’ll get to work, searching for homes that meet your “must have” requirements and maybe they’ll find some that tick all of your boxes.

Formal Dining Room – Clients, who plan on hosting dinners for family and friends, typically will require a formal dining room. So, be sure to let your agent know if that’s a must have.

Basement – If you need a basement and game room for your pool table and/or ping-pong table, be sure to let your agent know. Or, maybe, you want your teenage son or daughter to have their own basement “apartment.”

Outdoor Space – Do you need room for a garden? Would you like a large deck or patio? What about an in-ground pool. These are all important things you need to share with your realtor.

Garage & Parking – Do you have a lot of vehicles? Maybe you have a fishing boat you want to store in your garage. Or, maybe you have an RV you want to store on your property. Know your needs and share those.

There are too many additional criteria to list but the main takeaway is the requisite time, put together a list checking off what you need versus what you’d like. Share that information with your realtor. Then, just sit back, relax, and get prepared to view some homes that match what you need!

Next time, we’ll focus on choosing the right realtor. You won’t want to miss that one. Until then, if you have any questions about this blog or any listings in the area, just give us a call at Country Mile Realtors. We’re here to serve you!

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