Everyone dreams of their perfect home. It might have a spacious back yard, a pool with a paver deck, or that perfect kitchen complete with an island and dual gas/electric stovetop. No matter what the home of your dreams looks like, it’s important to go into the home buying process with a strategy in order to get to that vision.
Your first home likely won’t resemble that perfect space, but that’s OK! Choosing your first home is a huge step in the right direction. Once you are in the market you can renovate, trade up, or leverage the value of your property into bigger and better cash flow that will eventually facilitate that move into your dream home.
Whittle down your checklist
Start your search with a long list of wants. Real estate professionals like John Foresi of Venterra Realty suggest making this list early and returning to it with an introspective eye often throughout the process. This is a natural place to begin, however, it’s incredibly important to understand that your list must quickly shrink down to a list of essentials for your new home. Your real estate agent can help make this transformation, but ultimately the process is within your hands.
A high-quality checklist for first-home buyers should include all the obvious points: you will want to consider school zones, floorplan options, yard space, single or two-floor homes, garage configurations, and the neighborhood situation in relation to major roadways. Many of these considerations, you will quickly find, are related to the unchanging qualities of the home in general.
Beginning with the things you can’t change about the home is a great place to end with a list of essentials. If you must have a home tucked away in a sheltered neighborhood with foliage and no sounds of traffic you can rule out potentially dozens of homes on your viewing card. A new kitchen can be built in any home, but a road or school can’t be erased or built to your liking.
See lots of homes
It’s also crucial to view lots of homes, and some that you already know you won’t want to buy. Some sources suggest as many as ten viewings of different properties may be required to find the right home. Others say that an ideal home should be viewed as many as six times itself before you finalize the paperwork to put a down payment on the home and take out a mortgage loan.
Viewing many different homes is a great way to understand the ins and outs of the space of a home. First-time buyers are moving from renting and most of them have lived in apartments for the majority of their adult life. The average first-time homebuyer in the United States is now 33, meaning you have likely been climbing the corporate ladder for a decade or longer in a rented space a fraction the size of any first home you will eventually move into.
Viewing multiple homes can also help you solidify the list of things that you must have in a home and identify where compromises should prevail. Remember, this is your first home, not your last. As you continue to grow professionally and pay down the mortgage that will replace your rent bill every month, you will start to build equity in a rock-solid property asset that can be leveraged in the future to buy your next new home — possibly even your dream home.
Viewing many houses can give you that peace of mind in knowing that you have made the right decision in your purchase, and help you to identify the features that you will want to be built into your perfect house down the line.