Tuesday July 15, 2014
When shopping for a new home, many buyers feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options and information available. When beginning the research for buying a home (especially if you’re a first time home buyer), here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Know What Matters Most to You
As someone interested in buying a new home, you’re probably familiar with the most common factors home buyers evaluate during their search. Location, price, square footage, nearby amenities, lifestyle, school district, energy costs, and other key factors often enter the mix during the initial evaluation phase.
Make a list of what matters most – call these your “top ten”. Is your main reason for purchasing a home to save money on energy costs? Put it on the list. Does finding the best school district rise to the top? Write it down. Are you tired of sharing your one bedroom with your Great Dane and desperate for more square footage? Check.
..and You, and You…
Of course, new home purchase decisions are seldom made in a vacuum. Have your spouse (and your kids, if you’re up for it) make a list of what matters most to them. What’s similar? What’s different? Being transparent with your family about what matters most to you in your home can only save you time – and discussion – down the road.
Research the List
Take a look at the list you’ve made – what gaps in information do you need to fill? Here are a few key ideas:
- Is price important? Be sure to get pre-qualified for a mortgage before you begin searching for your dream home (a good idea no matter what your priorities are!).
- Looking for a great school district? Check out online resources likegreatschools.org or schooldigger.com to narrow down the list.
- Want to cut down your commute? Test out driving directions from your top locations to your place of work, children’s school, etc.
Then, Re-Evaluate the List
Once you have a solid understanding of your priorities, there’s one critical additional step. Ask yourself – is this really the order in which my priorities matter?
Many new home buyers get swept up in looking for a “deal”, or looking for the largest home for their money – leading to a home purchase decision they regret later on.
According to a survey by the National Building Museum, many recent home buyers indicate they wish they’d made “lifestyle” a higher priority in their new home search. Lifestyle factors and access to green space were factors home buyers regretted downplaying in their search. On the flip side, this same survey indicated that many home buyers wished they’d weighed home price and square footage less significantly in their search.
“Lifestyle factors and access to green space were factors
home buyers regretted downplaying in their search.”
The lesson here? Buyers are overestimating the importance of price per square foot and other common metrics. The day to day realities of homeownership cause many buyers to re-evaluate their priorities. A long commute, bare-bones “value” home or boring neighborhood can take a significant toll on quality of life – no matter the price or size of the home!
A Final Tip
One last caveat – remember that not all square footage is the same. While many new home buyers compare and contrast homes on a “price per square foot” basis, it’s important to realize that square footage leaves out many important factors. Key elements like home insulation, window sizes, home features, trim quality, and neighborhood amenities are simply not captured in a metric as simple as price per square foot.
Good luck in your new home search – and don’t forget to live chat now or call 800.325.3030 if you need additional advice in your Central PA home search!