Of course, most buyers do have to get real about what they can realistically buy and what they actually need (vs. what they want). That doesn’t mean you have to settle for something you don’t love; it just means you have to compromise, the smart way.
Put Location First, But Be Smart About It
Location is a big deal for most buyers and for good reason. You want to live in a market with good resale value, but you likely have other reasons you’ve selected your target area as well.
Schools, places of employment, safety, and convenience are all big considerations.
Compromising on location can be tricky. You don’t want to be stuck with options outside your budget, but you don’t want to spend the rest of your life commuting either. So how do you stay flexible on location while still getting what you want?
Explain to your real estate agent why you like this area. If it’s all about the school district or work commute, he or she can find you a home in your target zone that still suits your budget.
Keep an eye open mind and look at the complete picture (i.e. what your life will be like living here), rather than just the zip code.
Know What You Can Be Flexible On (And What You Can’t)
Many buyers want it all: the big backyard, the saltwater pool, the renovated kitchen, the prized school district, etc. If money is no concern, checking off every wish off your list may be doable.
But if you’re working with some kind of budget (and most of us are), you’ll have to be flexible.
You might enjoy the low maintenance nature of taking care of a smaller yard. Or maybe you’d be satisfied with 3-bedroom, rather than a 4-bedroom house in your target location.
Try to give yourself some wiggle room in size and style. While you might have always wanted a modern 5-bedroom home, you might find a 4-bedroom Tudor-style house suits your budget and lifestyle as well.
And remember, you can update and renovate as time goes on! Sure, we all want a Facebook- status-ready home, but comprising on a few cosmetic issues is a smart way to save on costs.
Know the Difference Between Your Rent Budget and Mortgage Budget
Many buyers are shocked when they learn what they can afford on rent isn’t the same as what they can afford in mortgage payments. There’s a lot to owning a home including maintenance, repairs, taxes, insurance, HOA fees, and more.
You’ll be much happier in the long run if you give yourself a cushion instead of stretching your budget across the seams. Be realistic about what you can afford and make the most of it.
Don’t Rely On the Internet
What’s the first thing many of us do when we see a cute home for sale? Pull out our smartphones and Google the property value.
Sure, this is a good way to gauge whether the home is in your budget or not, but it’s certainly not the last word in reliability. Most of these sites you find are run by people outside your area who don’t know the market trends as up close and personal as a local real estate agent does.
To determine if a home is a good deal for your family, talk to The Williams Team. We’ll help you find a home that ticks off every item on your list!