Your first home is most likely the stepping stone for your next home, so you want to do it right and set yourself up financially to move up to your next home. In this 8-part series, How to Find the Perfect Home for You and Your Budget, you’ll learn how to find a home that is the right fit for your lifestyle, needs, and, most importantly, your budget. It takes you through every step and shows you how to avoid buyer’s remorse.
There’s a precise formula and step-by-step approach that buyers – like you — should take to ensure they end up with the home that best fits their needs and budget. It requires some initial patience on your part so that each step is done right (and then you are prepared to quickly put in an offer with confidence when you reach that point!).
Don’t Skip These Three Steps.
No one should rush out to purchase a home before being ready since this is a big financial decision. Remember that slow and steady gets the “prize”!
First, you should have determined your deal breakers, “must-haves,” and lifestyle goals. That process was covered in a previous article from this series –12 Questions to Answer Before You Step Foot in an Open House. Go back and reread it, and then you can move forward once you’ve answered the 12 questions.
Now you’re ready for the next three crucial steps. But do not bypass these steps since you’ll end up wasting time, getting confused, and, ultimately, buying a home that you will regret.
- Be 100% sure you want to be a homeowner
Many people start looking for a home before they are convinced that buying a home is right for them. (Maybe their friends are doing it, they’re getting older, they’ve rented forever, etc.). They think that just looking at homes will help them make that decision. However, this is a sure recipe for making a big mistake! You must first decide that you want to commit to being a homeowner. Buying a home is a big deal and a commitment that you have to be willing to make for at least three to five years, if not more.
Before you go any further, you must decide whether this step in life is something you want to make and then commit to the process of looking for the perfect home, no matter how long that takes.
Depending on the current market, the looking process can be frustrating, difficult, and hard to see through to the goal of becoming a homeowner. Don’t set yourself up to fail by thinking that if you find the right home, you’ll become a homeowner if you buy it.
Instead, make the conscious decision that buying a home is the right move for you right now—both financially and otherwise—first and foremost. Then you’ll be more committed to going down the (long!) road to becoming a homeowner and not looking back.
2. Slow down to get the best fit for you
Often, we spend so much time thinking about buying a home that once we decide to buy, we want to find a home ASAP.
This is called immediate gratification syndrome. Don’t let it get the best of you!
Understandably, you’ve been waiting all your life to have enough money, to be settled in your job and life to buy your first home. But you can’t just wake up one day and buy the first home you see. It’s truly a process … and you want to make sure you are making the best decision for both your financial life AND for the life you want to live over the next few years.
Figuring all that out and having a home that fits your goals does take time. Buying a home is like finding a mate (buying a home is like falling in love), and just because you decide you are ready to commit doesn’t mean you should marry the first person you go on a date with.
The same thing with buying a home — once you’ve decided buying a home is the commitment you want to make, slow down to find just the right home for the life you want to create. That takes time. Take a deep breath, slow down and understand the process; you might enjoy it more, and you will find that perfect home!
3. Decide who will represent you
There is a lot more than meets the eye to buying a home. You need someone experienced in the type of home you are buying—price range, location, and loan programs that suit you. Not every agent knows how to help every buyer.
Start with getting recommendations from friends and family. Ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the agent they worked with. Think about where they bought and their price range. Only ask people in your life who would be buying something similar.
Once you have a list, reach out to at least two to three agents and ask them how they work, where they have sold homes recently, and in what price range. Then set up an appointment to meet them for an initial consultation.
You don’t need to know everything about the home-buying process before you meet; they should be educating you about the process and what you need to know to make your first purchase successful.
Some internet research on your own is just fine. Still, your agent will get you up to speed on the current real estate market, provide insight on local neighborhoods, and also advise you on mortgage options and home-buying assistance programs for first-time buyers.
Be honest with your agent. It’s essential to have a good working relationship and in sync with one another. That way, your agent will “get” you and be able also to anticipate your likes, dislikes, and needs in a home even better than you may at this point!
This is important since you want your agent to guide you toward homes that will work best for you and your wants, needs, and budget … and not waste time on houses that do not.
And, finally, make sure you want to spend hours in the car with them every weekend 🙂
Congrats, you did not skip these critical three steps! Now you can move forward. It’s time to figure out how to pay for your new home!
I hope you enjoy this series — How to Find the Perfect Home for You and Your Budget – and look out for next week’s article. You’ll learn the best way to budget for and finance your first home purchase.
I'm Tehane, a local realtor helping locals buy, sell, and stay local in Honolulu Schedule a conversation, and let's talk about your current situation and where you want to be. Then, let's create a plan to get you there. Every journey begins with the first step!
BHGRE Advantage Realty
4211 Waialae Avenue, Box 9050
Honolulu, HI. 96816