In search of the perfect home, unbridled enthusiasm is tempered by several economic factors. There’s no denying that mortgage rates and home prices are higher now than last year, impacting what you can afford. At the same time, fewer homes are still available for sale than the norm. These are two of the biggest hurdles buyers are facing today. But there are ways to overcome these things and still make your dream of homeownership a reality.
Home Purchasing Strategy
As you set out to purchase this season, you’ll want to be strategic. This includes looking closely at your wish list and considering what features you need in your next home versus which ones are nice. This will help you avoid overextending your budget or limiting your pool of options too much because you’re searching for that perfect home.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, explains:
“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be . . .”
Identifying Must-Haves versus Nice-To-Haves
To help identify what you truly need, list all the features you’ll want to see. From there, work to break those features into categories. Here’s a great way to organize your list:
- Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
- Nice-To-Haves – These are features you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-to-haves aren’t dealbreakers. However, if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, a garage, etc.).
- Dream State – This is where you can think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: a pool, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).
Expand Your Search Parameters
If you’re only willing to tour homes with all your dream features, you may be cutting down your options too much, making it harder on yourself (and your budget) than necessary.
While you’d love to have granite countertops or a pool in the backyard, those are things you could add after you move. Instead, it may be best to focus on finding something you can’t change (like location or a certain number of rooms). Then, you can upgrade or add some of the other features or finishes you want later.
Sometimes, the perfect home is the one you perfect after buying it.
Once you’ve categorized your list in a way that works for you, discuss your top priorities with your real estate agent. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your top needs.
With the current affordability challenges and limited housing supply. You will want to be strategic in finding a home that meets your needs while staying within your budget. Let’s connect to make that possible.
Other educational articles about the market and your home search are under Karen’s Blog. Additionally, explore the search bar for other topics of interest.