Tips for prioritizing your wants and needs as a homebuyer
If you’re considering purchasing a home, you know that mortgage rates have increased in the last year. Unfortunately, this means that the cost of borrowing money for your home loan has also gone up. However, by being strategic about your purchase this winter, you can still find a perfect home without breaking the bank.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:
“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be given the diminished purchasing power.”
It is essential to be aware of the difference between needs and wants when looking for a house. The most straightforward method to do this is by making a list of all the features you would like your future home to have.
Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you an idea of how much money the lender is willing to lend you, which is helpful in constructing your list of must-haves. Not only that, but you don’t want to fall in love with a home outside of your price range! Knowing what kind of budget you have to work with from the beginning can save you time and heartache later on.
Before you start, it might be helpful to think about them like this:
- Must-Haves – These features are deal-breakers; without them, the home simply will not work for you and your needs (distance from job or family members, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.)
- Nice-To-Haves – Nice-To-Haves are features that you would love to have, but they aren’t make or break items. They’re not dealbreakers, but if a home has all of your must-haves plus some of these extra ones, it goes up on the shortlist (examples: a second home office, a garage, etc.).
- Dream State – This is where you can get creative with your home choices. If you find a house that has all of the features on your must-have list, as well as several from the nice-to-have list, and any of these extra special features (a farmhouse sink or multiple walk-in closets, for example), then it’s a winner in my book.
After you’ve made your list and put it in a system that works for you, talk to your real estate advisor. They can help narrow the focus of your search, create a plan to stay on track, and find homes near you that fit what you’re looking for.
Creating your list of must-have features for your next home might seem like a small task, but it’s an essential first step in your homebuying journey. If you’re ready to find a home that fits all of your needs, let’s connect.