The quest for your dream home can be very exciting, but it is also easy to get overwhelmed by options. There is a tendency at times to lose sight of the bigger picture and get caught up in small details. Home buyers should keep in mind some simple guidelines on what to look at and what to look beyond when visiting homes:
Many first (and even second, third or fourth) time home buyers pass over homes with tremendous potential because they can’t see past ugly paint, flooring or countertops. So, here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” for homebuyers as you hit the streets looking for your dream home.
- Don’t worry about color. It can be changed. It will be changed. Assume you will have to paint when moving into a home, and if somehow the previous owners picked your absolute favorite colors, then you’ve won the new homeownership lottery.
- Don’t try to be a structural expert. Yes, the structural integrity is something that will end up being incredibly critical to a home purchase, but this is why we rely on inspectors. As a buyer, don’t over-analyze every crack and imperfection in the dry wall. Sometimes, a home with seemingly no structural flaws can require thousands of dollars worth of foundation work, and a home with some small cracks here and there can be perfectly sound.
- Don’t be afraid. If you’ve never done any sort of home repairs or renovation, it can be intimidating. The good news is a licensed contractor can do just about anything. Ok, maybe not anything, but pretty dang close. And if you don’t have room in the budget and have to DIY, many projects are actually easier than they seem. Just keep in mind when searching for a home which of these categories you fall in to. If you’ve never picked up a hammer and can’t afford a contractor, you may not want to plan on knocking out walls in a new home yourself.
- Do look for general layout. If you like to cook, then it may be incredibly important to you to have a kitchen that opens directly to the main living area. Many people are not even really aware of the things they are looking for in the floor plan of a house; for many of us it is difficult to envision. So think about your lifestyle and try to picture yourself doing daily activities in your ideal home. Talk about it with your agent, they should be able to hash it out with you and figure out the most important aspects of general layout of a home that fits your particular situation.
- Do be picky about location. If you know you want to live in a particular neighborhood or area, be patient and only look at homes in that area. Location is something you will not be able to change.
- Do make estimates about how much time and money will be spent making cosmetic repairs. While you don’t want to immediately rule out a house because it needs a fresh coat of paint or new carpet, those types of upgrades can quickly add up. If the home is just barely in your price range, and you can’t afford all the repairs it needs right off the bat, then that home may not be the best fit for you.