We all do it. We finally feel ready to buy a home, the time is right, we feel like we have saved enough for a down payment. Then, we think the next logical step is to get online and find some open houses to go to.
Resist that urge. Yep, you read that right. DO NOT start looking around at homes immediately! Why? Because I want clients like you to ask yourself some very important questions first. You need to first define and picture the life you want to live and a home that will match it. Its perfectly normal to not be 100% clear; home buying is definitely a process, but you need to be pretty clear of what your priorities are.
This will dig deeper than your criteria. Your honest and revealing answers will lead you to the right home purchase — for you, for your lifestyle, and for your budget.
Brainstorming and self-exploration is not just for the “crunchy,” but will make home shopping efficient and less chaotic.
Your answers will help you avoid potential personal and financial disaster when it comes to real estate. Slow down and take the time to really evaluate your life and the “what” and “why” for a home, so the rest of your home-buying experience (especially the house-hunting part) will be that much more rewarding and stress-free. You’ll actually get everything you want … and maybe even things you didn’t think you could have!
Here we go! 12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Attending an Open House:
1. How long do you plan to live in this next home and how long will you own this home if you plan on renting it out after you move out?
This is THE absolute most important question to answer honestly since it will affect the rest of your home-buying search. You must answer this question first before you continue to the others.
2. What will your life look like during that timeframe?
Answering this question will help you determine what purpose your home will serve, most specifically your wants and needs at that stage of your life. Plus, you’ll determine what your #1 driver or reason for buying a home now and for the time period you want to own that home.
3. What about your current daily life do you love and are not willing? Do you love your quick commute to work? Or the coffee house you visit weekly? Maybe its the options for outdoor activities, the gym instead? What is your actual reality day-to-day that you want to remain unchanged?
4. Are you more of a “homebody” or more of a “night-out-on-the-town” kind of person?
This will be a factor to determine how much space you need. If you never have people over, then why have a huge space for that dining table you never use? But, if you rather cook dinner for friends than bar hop, then don’t give up your dream of having enough room to make this desire a reality.
5. Do you work late and need to be close to the office with a quick, easy commute?
This will assist to define your ideal location. Usually a boundary for maximum time for commuting is helpful.
6. What are your personal and financial goals during the timeframe you are going to be living in this new home?
For example, do you plan to change jobs at some point so that your finances may change – a possible increase or decrease in salary? You don’t want to have a mortgage that binds you to your current job, especially if your goal is to switch to a less stressful work life while living there.
7. What are your hobbies and how will they impact your life while you live in this home?
Would you prefer to live in a less expensive, possibly smaller home so you have the funds to travel the world or even for a favorite hobby … (think scuba diving, travel photography, etc.)?
Or, do you want to live close to an important outside interest (think horseback riding, sailing, ballroom dancing, etc.)? Or, maybe you need space for your hobbies (think painting with canvases and easel, crafting supplies, or refurbishing antiquing finds, etc.)?
8. Do you consider yourself a “location person” or a “house person”?
This is SO important! Some people get more excited about the local amenities than the features inside their home? Usually people tend to be more one than the other. Which are you? What do you tend to gravitate toward?
For example, would you rather be near urban conveniences, lots of quiet green space, or a wider number of school choices? Then location could be more important to you. If so, many locations have distinct personalities and you want to find one that works for you. Keep in mind that certain locations will feature only certain types of homes to buy – condo apartment, row house, townhome, or single-family home.
On the other hand, if having lots of inside space, an awesome chef’s kitchen, and a Jacuzzi bathtub gets you all excited rather than any particular neighborhood, than you are more of a house person.
9. Are schools in the neighborhood a factor for this home purchase?
Even if you don’t plan to have children soon, it’s a question worth asking since homes in better school districts tend to appreciate more in value. If you have young children or plan to start a family in the near future, then getting yourself educated about schools will be important. Just remember that your agent can’t recommend school districts due to Fair Housing Laws. You’ll need to do your own research and get feedback from friends and family.
10. What is there about your current home that you would like to change or be different in your next home?
What bothers you every single day about your current home? For example, it could be the lack of closet space or not enough counter space in the kitchen. And, on the flip side, what is the absolute most important, can’t-live-without it, deal breaker thing you MUST have? We all have one. Do you really, really want that primary bedroom suite or that large eat-in kitchen?
11. Describe your ideal scenario when it comes to your home purchase and why.
This is the time to dream BIG! After asking yourself all the questions above, now’s the time to take your brainstorming to pen and paper. Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you could possibly have if you could have it all (within reason) in your next perfect home. Don’t hold back! Write down things you might think are out of reach.
12. What would you be willing to you compromise on in a home?
It’s hard to start with what you are willing to give up, but after listing out all the things you DO want from the questions above (and don’t hold back on this part—list everything!) Circle three things you could possibly live without on that list.
Congrats on answering all of these questions and hopefully it sparked some additional self-analysis that will help you find that perfect home! Next week, we’ll take a closer look at whether you are a “location” person or a “house” person. It’s your leading compass on where and what you will look at when you start house hunting.
I'm Morgan and I love helping professionals in the aviation industry make their move to Atlanta as smooth as a greased landing. Whether its relocation, buying for the first time, or selling luxury and aviation real estate properties, I can help you transition smoothly.
2015 Sharpsburg McCollum Unit 110
Sharpsburg, GA 30265
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