By Andy Randles, Flyhomes Client Advisor in Seattle
Cute home, close to downtown, but not in downtown, large lot, good tree coverage for privacy, but great natural sunlight. Must have four bedrooms, must have white cabinets, must have a two-car garage, must have … Also, I need all this for under median market price!
Coming into your first home search with a lengthy list of “must-haves” is understandable and very common. It’s normal for people to expect to check all the boxes, especially with the popularity of shows like House Hunters, where every buyer gets everything they want.
The reality is most people sacrifice on something (and sometimes many things!). So, let’s talk about what’s most important and what’s negotiable.
The most important part of any home search is going to be the 3 L’s – location, location, location!
You can change a home, but you can’t change a neighborhood. No home matters if it’s miles from where you want to live – even if it is the perfect house otherwise.
Focus on the city and specific neighborhood first. Maybe it’s the walkability, schools, social life, friends and family who are already there, or other factors that matter to you.
Then, work to find a home that matches your needs. Start by going to open houses or touring with your agent to get a feel for what’s within your budget, targeting homes that most closely match what you’re looking for.
Decide what’s most important then about the home – bedroom and bathroom count is common, but for some people it’s a garage for their prized collectors’ car or a fenced backyard for four-legged friends.
It’s also important to ask yourself how much of an appetite you have for renovations. Buying a home with a dated kitchen is a great place to save upfront and boost the equity in your new home later. This is a major turnoff for many buyers, as the kitchen is a top priority for nearly all home shoppers, but it leaves the doors wide open for a great opportunity. According to one report , the return on investment for a minor kitchen remodel is about 93% for the pacific region!
Searching for a home can be a daunting task, but after determining what’s possible within your budget, and what you need out of a home, it can be a fun and rewarding process.