Buying your first home is one of the most exciting and yet stressful events for newly-wed couples. The idea that you are both about to commit an extraordinary amount of money together is not only new to most people, but also can be quite confusing. Really... where do you start??? Here is a short list of the Top 5 things to consider when starting to think about this process.
It is never too early to start
Newlyweds typically focus on their wedding, putting aside this crucial research. It does not matter that you may feel you have plenty of time before you have to buy something. The key is to start early. Start looking as soon as you are considering buying. You will get to know the market much quicker this way, and will have a pretty clear idea of what your Dollars can get you. Once you find the home you like, you will have all the knowledge from your research at your finger tips to make a rational and quick decision. Especially in today's market, when we are faced with multiple offers, and homes that sell fairly quickly, (assuming that they are priced correctly).
Make a List of your Needs and Wants
Just like when planning your wedding, it is one thing to think you know what you want, versus truly understanding what you BOTH want and need. You will be surprised how many times I have taken clients out and the "List" either changes, or is argued at each showing. Think through what is important to you, and work with your agent to make sure you are seeing the right type of properties, within your budget. No point of seeing properties that you can't really afford, just to see them, because you will just be disappointed. So just as you are doing now for your wedding, make a realistic list and set a budget and stick to it. You will find your search much more productive and fruitful.
Location, Location, and Location
One of the key components to shopping for a home is Location. I would argue it is equally as important as your needs, wants and budget list. Remember you can always renovate your space, or compromise on a "Want" item, but if you compromise the location, you will always regret it. You can never change the location of the home, unless you decide to sell and move. So choose Wisely. Be happy with the location you chose and what it has to offer. Remember this is where you will be starting your life together, so you want to be happy.
Feel amazing and excited about the property you are putting an offer on. This is just like when you first fell in love... If you don't get that feeling of "I LOVE IT" think through if this is really the home for you. I am not talking about the paint color or the staging, I am talking about that gut feeling that tells you that you can see yourself coming home to this place every day. If you don't have that feeling, consider walking away, and finding another property. Never Settle on a place just because...
Your Realtor and Trust!
Always work with a Realtor that you trust. It is important for you to feel comfortable with your realtor, and to know that he/she understands what you are looking for. If you don't feel your realtor is protecting your interest, and treating your money as if it was their own, consider finding a new realtor. Your realtor should be advising you on market pricing, location, and helping you along the whole process. He/she will help you define really what's important, and ensure that you are not going to regret a decision to buy the property. I always say to my clients, working with a realtor is like dating... you don't get married until you feel it is right, so interview your realtor, and make sure you are comfortable working with them.
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