Besides getting married and having kids, buying a home is one of life’s most significant decisions. If you have ever tuned into House Hunters, you can almost feel the anxiety and stress of the people trying to narrow three choices down to one. Luckily, we have the secret to picking the home you love!
Make a list! OK, wait, before you dismiss this as being painfully obvious, this is not just any list. Instead, this is a carefully engineered list that will provide much-needed clarity, which in turn will help to diminish stress and anxiety.
Your list needs to have three parts:
- Unicorn features
This is the list of things you will not compromise on. For example, let’s say you are retired, and you don’t want to live by an elementary school because you don’t want to listen to recess bells and traffic all day. That is non-negotiable.
One of the easiest ways to determine your non-negotiables is to think of unfavorable living situations that have affected you or your friends. Knowing what you don’t want is at least as, if not more, important than knowing what you do want.
The next part of your list will be a record of things that would be nice to have but are optional. If you want a three-car garage but can get away with a two-car garage, or you don’t mind renting storage to make up the difference between a two and three-car garage, a three-car garage would be on your preference list.
It can be challenging to distinguish between a deal-breaker item on your list and a flexible item. In this case, rate the amenities on your list. You can better determine what you want and don’t want by establishing a rating system between one and five. Attaching a number to a desire can help to take some of the emotion out of your choices. This will also help if you are buying a home with someone else. You can compare your rating systems and negotiate options, giving on one of your low-rated options in exchange for getting one of your higher-rated options.
We’re likening this category to unicorns because these are things you’d love to have but may be very difficult to find in your local market or in your price range. An example might be a pool. If you also want to live off the grid, or your price range is under a certain amount, a pool is kind of a unicorn request. On the other hand, maybe you could dig a pond or have an above-ground pool, but a five-star resort infinity pool might not happen.
Put your energy in the right place
A useful trick many people swear by is putting your energy into your new surroundings before you even start looking for a home. If you want a white farmhouse kitchen with marble countertops, picture yourself cooking in your desired kitchen. If you want to be on a river or lake, put yourself on the deck of your new home with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee while you overlook the water, listen to the birds, and watch fish rising. Putting your energy into what is possible instead of what is not can be very helpful in finding the home you love.
Partner with a professional
You knew it was coming – time for a shameless promotion. In all honesty, getting a home you love is highly contingent upon partnering with a knowledgeable real estate agent. A real estate professional can help in countless ways, but when it comes to your must-have list, an agent may have intel about an amenity you’ve attached yourself to that is not highly valued in your chosen area. If we go back to the pool example, most people looking for an off-the-grid home in the mountains aren’t going to want a pool or the maintenance that comes with it. You can choose to put one in, knowing you will never get your money back out of it and that it will be strictly for your enjoyment.
Kat Hobza has lived in Montana since she was nine and was raised in the mountains west of Victor, Montana. There, she learned to hunt, fish, shoot competitively, chop and stack firewood, and drive on icy and muddy roads. Kat has over two decades of experience in professional writing, content, and digital marketing and is a marketing consultant for Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. When she’s not working, she’s either hanging with her hilarious adult kids or soaking up the sun somewhere – a riverbank, a golf course, or her deck. You can contact Kat through her business website, Way Easy Marketing.
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