We have all seen them. The "Home Buying Tips" or "Home Selling Tips" that are common to every real estate blog and are prevalent all over the internet. Granted most of them a for Sellers and they say things like "de-clutter" and "paint the fence" and for Buyers it says something like "get pre-qualified" and "hire a professional home inspector".
Well, here is another one...no wait! This one is for Buyers but it's a little un-traditional and some of my colleagues no doubt will disagree with me. That's OK, they are not the Buyer, you are. So here goes.
- Location. Think about your life. What do you do? Where do you work? Where do you socialize? Where do your friends live? Do you curl, golf, ski, etc.? You should take all of these things into consideration. Try to pick a location that has easy access to your life. Consider buying a older house instead of a big fancy new one, if that gets you closer to where you "live", if you get my drift. Unless you love to drive, spend more time "living", in your home and doing what you love to do and less time commuting to your life.
- Look until you are happy. This is where it comes off the rails for many REALTORS® and if they read this (they won't, but if they did) they would have steam coming from their ears. Buying a home is a BIG decision. And, it is one that you literally have to live with. So get it right. While it does happen occasionally that a Buyer finds just the right house the first day out. They look at 5 or 6 homes and there it is! However, most of the time you don't even have a sense of the market by that time. I work a little differently than many REALTORS®. We look until you are happy. Period. I will offer suggestions and sometimes and opinion or two, but YOU are the one that needs to come home two years from now, put the key in the door and say to yourself, "Gee, it's good to be home". So, we look until you are happy. With most folks, that involves seeing 15 to 25 homes, but on occasion, I have shown 50 or even more before just the right one came along.
- Don't get overwhelmed. If you go out with your REALTOR® tomorrow and see 15 houses, that is too many! I try to show no more than 8 in a day and I really think 5 or 6 is more comfortable. After that, they all start to run together and by the end of the day you can't remember what you saw. House #1 had this, house #2 had that, or was that house #4? A tip I recommend is to try to remember your favourite home and a couple back-ups and forget the rest. Most people can keep 3 houses straight in their minds but after that they all start to run together.
- Be reasonable. That sounds like a contradiction but it really isn't. If you are looking for perfection, you are going to be disappointed. There is no such thing. What you are looking for is a house that you can make a home. You are looking for location. You are looking for a floor plan and features that meet your needs. Don't buy bells and whistles. If you need to change the carpets or paint in a year or two, that can be done.
- Leave the kids at home. If it is at all possible, leave young children at home or with a sitter. You need to concentrate on what you are doing which is making a huge financial and lifestyle decision for your family. It is hard to do when the kids are running around someone else's house grabbing stuff and playing with the toys. You can always take them along on a second showing when you are seeing 1 or 2 homes and not spending hours looking at many houses.
OK. That's it for today. I have made enough people upset with me for one day. Until next time, stay warm (like that's even possible).