This post has been sponsored by National Association of REALTORS ®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Choosing your ideal home is one of the biggest decisions of your adult life. It is an endeavor that is both thrilling and scary and runs you through a gamut of emotions. I bought my first house with my husband a few years ago and I’ve also helped several family members and friends make home purchases. When I was working as an attorney, I focused on real estate and family law where you divide assets including real estate. None of the foregoing should be considered legal advice. I am not your attorney.
Start with your basic requirements in an ideal home. How many bathrooms and how bedrooms do you need? When my husband and I were looking for a home, I was pregnant. I knew we needed at least two bedrooms. I really needed three bedrooms because I have insomnia so I need a room where I can run away to if I cannot sleep. We ended up with four bedrooms, and the 4th became my office when I started working from home. The 4th bedroom is not necessary and was not a basic need, but the house we fell in love with had four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The third bathroom is unnecessary right now, but when my daughter gets a little older, I will be glad to have it.
You don’t want to go too small or too large. If the house is too small, it will cause stress. If it is too big, you will have to clean more.
Figure out what you can afford. Pull your credit report and get your bank records. You will need this documentation for the mortgage as well. You might as well start putting it together early. Work out a budget and see what you are spending. This will help determine how much you can spend on home expenses while still saving for rainy day expenses. You will no longer have a landlord to call if your air conditioner breaks.
My husband and I decided to purchase a home with a mortgage that could be paid by one person. We could live on one person’s salary and still have a place to live. We made this decision as a precaution. It was just in case one of us lost their job or was home taking care of children.
Write a don’ts list so that you have in writing what you cannot live with. Do laundry rooms in the garage make you crazy? It was on the Don’ts List for my mom when she bought her new house. The list might expand as you search for homes. I found out that I didn’t want carpet. I have allergies and carpets don’t work for me. We ended up buying a house with new carpet, but I decided that we would replace the a few years. I’ll let you know when that happens….
Write a Wants v. Needs List
Write a wants list in order of priority. What is something you need to have in your new home? Do you want new windows? Hurricane Shutters? Are excellent Schools a priority? If something is vital to you, you could do some research on the pricing of adding this to a home. This will help with negotiation and pricing when you find a home you love.
Find a Realtor®
Find a representative you can trust. I recommend working with a Realtor® rather than buying a home on your own. In order to be called a Realtor®, an individual must be a member of National Association of REALTORS® and must abide by the association’s highest standard of ethics. We found the Realtor® we worked with through a friend that used him in the past. Referrals are wonderful, but if that is not an option, you can get a Realtor® here on realtor.com/GetRealtor. It is important to a Realtor® helping you with the home buying process, as they are very knowledgeable. In this era of DIY everything, you might think you can do it on your own. This is a massive purchase probably the biggest purchase you have ever made, it is important to have an expert on your side. There are so many pitfalls that you can fall into without realizing. Having someone on your side is important. Also, this isn’t your day job, and it can consume you! They’ll take care of the process so that you can focus on your busy life.
Look into what type of mortgage you would like to get. Research the rates and FHA, VA, and HUD loans programs. Look at what rates different banks are offering. Also, go to your own bank to see if they can give you a better deal since they have your money.
Check out the neighborhoods in your area to find the ideal place to live. When I like an area, I like to look at it in the morning, afternoon and evening so that I get a feel of what it would be like to live there. You can also see what the commute is like by getting up an hour early from work and driving from your potential new neighborhood to work.
The community goes beyond just the houses. Check out the community surrounding the neighborhood. How close are you to restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, drug stores?
Consider the Future
Discuss your plans when looking for an ideal home. You might want children or animals. Do you want to live near the beach when you are working full time? What is your life going to look like in 5 years? Ten years? Will you want to walk up three flights of stairs if you are pregnant? It is important to think ahead.
Start House Hunting
A Realtor® can help you find something that suits your taste and takes in consideration your needs and wants. They are the experts and can help guide you through the process better than any website.
You can find a Realtor® to help you find your ideal home here: realtor.com/GetRealtor