If You Separate Your Must Haves from Your Dreams
This article appeared in the Image Magazine September 2017 edition.
Whether we are looking for the TV remote or a favorite shirt, we often find “lost” items hiding in plain sight. The same principle applies to house hunting. Often, the perfect home may be the one you have looked at 10 times online, but did not see the potential or realize you were seeing your next home. While your first impression may be that the living room is too small, or the stairs are in the wrong place, or the eat-in kitchen isn’t the kitchen of your dreams, a closer examination may help reveal more positive than negative qualities; and it may spark your creativity. Maybe a wall can be knocked out to enlarge the kitchen. Maybe that dream bath is possible. And in all likelihood the cost of renovation may not be as much as you imagine.
Obviously there are scores of houses out there that clearly do not meet your needs; but when you find one that feels like it might, you owe it to yourself to run it by someone else you trust and get his/her opinion. Don’t be so quick to judge. Bring in your contractor, or your architect, or your best friend, or your mom, and run ideas past them. If you see the potential, chances are they will share your vision and help you make it a reality. You may need to move slightly out of your comfort zone, but the payoff could be the house of your dreams.
Too many house hunters create a mental image of the ideal house, and refuse to consider changing that image. They decide that the perfect home needs to be within a three block radius of the one they live in, and should meet all of their criteria, and come in under their price range. After a while, when that doesn’t happen, inertia takes hold and they forget their original plan. They substitute finding the perfect, for finding the right home. So, what do you do when you feel like you are compromising on your dreams?
Step back and reevaluate your priorities. Decide what is most important to you. Separate the must haves from the dream list. Is it possible to merge this list somewhere in the middle?
Reevaluate your financial situation. Have you searched for the perfect one family home, for six years, but keep falling about 10% under the selling price? If so, have you ever considered looking at a two or three family home? When doing this, you are able to afford more living space and you can use the income from the tenants to help pay your mortgage.
Are you stuck on a certain budget but you just can’t find anything even close to that in the area you are targeting? If you are weighed down by this, you actually have options available to you. Option A: Find out which areas actually do fit into your budget, and be more open to the possibility of expanding your search. Option B: Explore the possibility of increasing your budget slightly by talking to a mortgage broker.
Think outside the local box.
Are you stuck because you refuse to even consider expanding your geographic search area? Are you married to a certain block? Do you have to be next door to your parents? What’s holding you back? Sometimes, if you expand your horizons just a little bit, you may be surprised to see that you can find what you really want nearby. More options open up when you do!
Talk about what you want. If you are buying the house with your spouse, are you sure you share the same wish list? Very often we meet with home buyers who are more than eager to share their dream house ideas, but have never had the “must have list” conversation. Just knowing where to start can open up a whole new world of possibilities and ideas. Again, be open-minded to all options. The two-family he is looking at, may convert very easily into a great one family, and that renovation she needs in order to get that dream bath off the master bedroom may cost less than you think.
Be realistic. People often give up finding the right home too early in the search, because they let the idea of a dream home get in the way of reality. There may be homes out there that have a six-car garage and an indoor pool and five bedrooms, but how many people do you know who have that house? Unrealistic expectations may be preventing you from seeing the possibility in a house you have seen a dozen times online.
Find ways to lessen the stress. Are you looking to upgrade or downgrade, or move into something completely different? If so, this can add to the stress of the search.
Maybe you need to wait to put your house on the market until you know for sure you have found the one you want to move into. If this is the case, talk to your realtor. He or she can help you be ready to both make an offer and move quickly to sell your current home.
If you think you are ready to buy a home, ask yourself these questions, then hire an experienced real estate broker. Qualified, licensed brokers will give you tips on up and coming blocks, price trends, and future listings that may be available soon. They can be your best advocate and look out for you, sometimes better than you can look out for yourself. When searching, it’s best to select and stick to one agent, and work closely with him/ her throughout the process. He will be loyal to you, call you when the best deals come up, and walk you through everything you need.