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Home Shopping The Smart Way

When shopping for a home, there are quite a few things that can snatch your attention. When you look at a home, it’s very easy to fall immediately in love with it. New homes are clean, decorated perfectly, and many are what you pictured in your dreams. If you don’t shop the smart way though, you’ll end up like many other home owners and find faults shortly after you move in.

When you look at your potentially new home, you’ll want to check and see if you can fit your furniture in the way you want. A lot of homes these days are configured so that the furniture will only fit in one position. Often times, this leaves a television or other device in a weird location, sometimes making your furniture nearly impossible to fit through the doors. This is surely something to bear in mind, as you certainly don’t want to have to buy entirely new furniture.

You’ll also want to be sure that you get the right home for yourself and your family. Even though you may be a young couple now, you may want to get a house with enough room in case you decide to have kids later on down the road. If you don’t get a big enough house and end up having to move, you’ll find that moving with kids is a hard task indeed. If you have babies when you move, you’ll find moving to be even more difficult.

Once your children start to leave home, you may want to look into getting a smaller house. The choice is entirely up to you, and what will work the best for your needs. Anytime you purchase a house though, you’ll want to think about the size of your new home and consider the future needs of your family as well. This way, you’ll have everything covered for years to come and won’t have to look into getting a new home.

You may also want to look at any extras as well. Things like a pool and a hot tub may be a great thing to have, although you should look into the money that regular maintenance will cost you as well. There are a lot of things that may be great to have along with your home, although you should always look at long term costs before you purchase.

Location is also something you’ll need to consider as well. Some prefer to live out in the country, while others prefer the city life. Some prefer to be close to stores and such, while others prefer to be miles and miles away. The location of a home is very important, and in most cases will have a big impact on the price. Living in the city will cost quite a bit of money, although a home out in the country can cost just as much if there is a lot of land included with the property.

Whenever you decide to buy a house, there is a lot of things that you’ll need to consider. Buying a home is no easy feat, with a lot of things you’ll need to decide on. If you give yourself enough time and plan out your budget and the type of home you want, you’ll have plenty of time to make that very important decision. You never want to rush the process, as you could end up with a home that is less than perfect. If you take your time and look at several different houses, you’ll end up in your dream home before you know it.

Shopping for a house online is a good way to start your search, but you shouldn’t do the whole thing on the Internet. Web sites like REIWA and Domain are good for getting your house hunt underway, and they’re more accessible than a human real estate agent. You can search any time of day and the information is already there; you don’t have to wait for someone to get back to you with a list of prospective houses and then go door to door to check them out. Web sites normally give you all of the basic details about available homes, including square footage and the number of rooms. Pictures let you get a better idea of which homes are of real interest to you.

You can even use Google Maps to help you in your house hunt, since it has a real estate feature and it can provide directions to get to the actual houses. You can also use Google Maps to get a sense for the neighborhood, based on nearby restaurants, grocery stores and schools. Plus, if you access the site from your mobile phone, you can call up real-time directions as you drive to check out potential homes.

However, Internet house shopping can only take you so far. Eventually, you have to take your list of potential homes and check them out in person. Even if you have the option to buy online, you shouldn’t buy property sight unseen. You need to get a feel for the place, examine the faults and benefits of each place and talk to the owner or realtor. Still, using the Internet to narrow down your options is a good and convenient way to go. It’s even easier than highlighting ads in the paper’s real estate listings.

Buying a home is a very emotional process, but if you allow those emotions to get the best of you, you may fall prey to a number of common home buyer mistakes. Since buying a home has many far-reaching implications – ranging from where you will live to how hard it will be to make ends meet – it’s important to keep your emotions in check and make the most rational decision possible.

Falling in Love With a House You Can’t Afford

Once you’ve fallen in love with a particular home, it’s hard to go back. You start dreaming about how great your life would be if you had all the wonderful things it offered – the lovely, tree-lined streets, the jetted bathtub, the spacious kitchen with professional-grade appliances. However, if you can’t or won’t be able to afford that house, you’re just hurting yourself by imagining yourself in it. To avoid the temptation to get in over your head financially, or the disappointment of feeling like you’re settling for less than you deserve, it’s best to only look at homes in your price range.

Start your search at the low end of your price range – if what you find there satisfies you, there’s no need to go higher. Remember, when you buy another $10,000 worth of house, you’re not just paying an extra $10,000 – you’re paying an extra $10,000 plus interest, which might come out to double that amount or more over the life of your loan. You may be better off putting that money toward another purpose.

Assuming There’s Nothing Better out There

Unless you are a high-end buyer looking at custom homes, chances are that for any home you find that you like, there are quite a few others that are nearly identical to it. Most neighbourhoods have multiple homes that are the same model. Further, most neighbourhoods are full of homes that were all constructed by the same builder, so even if you can’t find an identical model for sale, you can probably find a house with many of the same features. If you’re considering a condo or townhouse, the odds are also in your favour.

Even when you have a long list of must-haves, there are probably several homes out there that can meet your needs. If there are snags with the home you’ve decided you like – such as major repair issues, an inflexible asking price or a difficult possession date – consider moving on. Being open to keep looking will save you from making rash decisions you might regret later.

Being Desperate

When you’ve been looking for a while, and you do not see anything you like – or worse, you’re getting outbid on the houses you do want – it’s easy to get desperate to get into your new house now. However, if you move into a house you’ll end up hating, the transaction costs to get rid of it will be costly. You’ll have to pay an agent’s commission (up to 5-6% of the sale price), and you’ll have to pay closing costs for the mortgage on your new house. You’ll also deal with the hassle and expense of moving yet again. If you decide not to move but to try to make the best of what you have, remember that alterations and renovations are expensive, time-consuming and stressful. If you have time on your side, it’s OK to wait until something that suits you comes along – as long as your demands are realistic for your budget, you are bound to find something you live with.

Overlooking Important Flaws

For any of the three reasons we just discussed, you might be tempted to ignore major problems with the house that will be difficult, expensive or impossible to change. Carefully consider your options before you make a commitment, and consider waiting until something better comes along. New houses come on the market every day.

Overestimating Your Handyman Skills

Don’t buy a fixer-upper that’s more than you can handle in terms of time, money or ability. For example, if you think you can do the work yourself then realize you can’t once you get started, any repairs or upgrades you were planning to make will probably cost twice as much once you factor in the labor – and that may not be in your budget. Not to mention the costs involved to fix anything you may have started and the fees to replace the materials you wasted. Honestly evaluate your abilities, your budget and how soon you need to move before purchasing a property that isn’t move-in ready.

Rushing to Put in an Offer

In a hot market, it may be necessary to pull the trigger very quickly if you find a home you like. However, you have to balance the need to make a quick decision with the need to make sure the home will be right for you. Don’t neglect important steps like making sure the neighborhood feels safe at night as well as during the day and investigating possible noise issues like a nearby train. Ideally, you’ll be able to take at least a night to sleep on the decision. How well you sleep that night and how you feel about the home in the morning will tell you a lot about whether the decision you’re about to make is the right one. Taking the time to consider the decision also gives you a chance to research how much the property is really worth and offer an appropriate price.

Dragging Your Feet

It’s a tough balancing act to make sure you make a careful decision, but don’t take too long to make it. Losing out on a property that you were almost ready to make an offer on because someone beat you to it can be heartbreaking. It can also have economic consequences. Let’s say you are self-employed. Perhaps for you more than anyone else, time is money. The more time and energy you have to take out of your normal activities to search for a house, the less time and energy you have available to work. Not dragging out the home buying process unnecessarily may be the best thing for your business, and the continued success of your business will be essential to paying the mortgage. If you don’t pull the trigger quickly, someone else might, and you’ll have to keep looking. Don’t underestimate how time-consuming and routine-disrupting house shopping can be.

Offering Too Much

If there’s a lot of competition in your market and you find a place you really like, it’s all too easy to get sucked into a bidding war – or to try to preempt a bidding war by offering a high price in the first place. There are a couple of potential problems with this. First, if the house doesn’t appraise at or above the amount of your offer, the bank won’t give you the loan unless the seller reduces the price or you pay cash for the difference. If this happens, the shortfall on your bid as opposed to your mortgage will have to be paid out of pocket. Second, when you go to sell the house, if market conditions are similar to or worse than they were when you purchased, you may find yourself upside down on the mortgage and unable to sell. Make sure the purchase price for the home you buy is reasonable for both the house and the location by examining comparable sales and getting your agent’s opinion before making an offer.

The Bottom Line

It’s natural for emotion to come into play in the home-buying process. Buying a house is a big decision, but this is exactly why you need to ensure you are making rational choices, rather than getting wrapped up in the notion of a dream home. In addition to the above-mentioned steps, once you’ve secured the right home, don’t just go with the first lender you talk to, do your research on mortgages using a calculator.

In short, when it comes to buying a new home slow down, overcome your emotions and, ultimately, make a home-purchase decision that’s good for both your feelings and your finances.

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