The Ultimate Home Buyers Checklist: How To Get What You Really Want In Your Dream Home

Let’s face it: buying a house is not easy for most people. The home buying process is exciting, nerve-wracking, and often stressful. So much so that many first-time homebuyers don’t even think of the home-buying process until they are knee-deep. Even seasoned buyers may find getting everything they want in their new home challenging.

Asking all the right questions will help you strike the perfect balance between what you need and what you can afford in your dream abode. Here are some tips on how to get what you really want in your new home.

Assess Your Needs & Wants

Your home is your safe haven. So before you even think of touring homes, sit down and list things you absolutely must have in your new home and things you would like to have in your new home. The must-haves are the necessities. These are important features that you cannot live without. Things like location, size, and school district are examples of necessities. The likes are optional features you would like, but their absence does not render your home uninhabitable.

You may fall in love with a home with a large yard and a pool now, but what happens in five years when you have kids that need to maintain that pool? Will your family be comfortable in your chosen house, or do you need more space? What about your commute to work or your proximity to the grocery store? Also, think about your financial situation. Are you expecting a raise at work? Perhaps you’ve received a sizeable inheritance.

Know Your Price Range

Before looking at homes, you should know how much you can afford to spend on a home. So, how do you know how much house you can afford? Here’s a quick formula: Remember, the amount you spend on a home should be no more than 28% of your gross annual income.

There are several resources available to help you determine your price range. First, you can start by looking at recent home sales in your area. For example, the Zillow Home Value Index will allow you to see the value of homes in your neighborhood. Another option is to work with a real estate agent to understand what homes in your desired area typically sell for.

Look Into A New Build

A new build home will be brand new, and usually, the lot, utilities, and other external elements are included in the cost of the house. A new home can sometimes be more affordable than purchasing an existing one that needs repairs, renovations, or closing costs. Builders are often willing to negotiate with buyers, especially first-timers. Be sure to shop around, comparing the cost of different builders and the features that come with their houses to get the best deal. There are also certain incentives available for first-time homebuyers that may lower the price of your mortgage.

Additionally, for some people, a new home is more of a blank canvas, where you can get creative with the design and make it exactly as you envision it. However, if you are shopping for a new build, make sure there is a firm build date and possession date in the contract. It’s also a good idea to have a contingency in your contract if the build does not go according to schedule. It’s simple to look for a new construction home, so don’t rule them out.

Be Aware Of Red Flags

As you search for your dream home, keep your eyes peeled for red flags that could spell trouble for your purchase. These may include faulty mechanical systems, such as a roof that’s beginning to leak or an outdated electrical system. Structural issues, such as foundation issues or a cracked slab. Or problems with the neighborhood, such as a high crime rate or nearby infrastructure projects. Watch out for homes that look “too good to be true,” as they may be someone’s problem home they are trying to unload quickly. Another red flag to look out for is a home inspection report that is too clean. This could indicate that the seller has attempted to clean up a problem and removed the evidence.

If you see any of these red flags, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy the home; it just means that you need to be aware of the extra costs associated with the repairs and be prepared to negotiate them into your purchase.

Consider Repairs And Renovations

Many homeowners spend thousands of dollars on repairs and renovations to their houses. If you buy a home that needs repairs, you’ll want to negotiate those repairs into the purchase. You may also consider hiring a contractor to do the repairs or renovations before you close the house. If budget is a concern, you may be able to get a contractor to do the work at a lower cost if they can get paid after the sale is completed.

Another option is to ask the seller to pay for the repairs or renovations. You’ll want to be careful with this, though, as there is no guarantee that they’ll actually follow through with the work.

Negotiate Effectively

Once you’ve found a house you love, it’s time to get down to business and negotiate the best deal possible. This includes finding out as much information about the house as possible. For example, you can ask the seller what type of roof the house has, as well as the age of the roof. This will help you determine whether the roof will need to be replaced soon.

You can also ask the seller about the furnace’s age and water heater. Knowing this information will help you estimate how much it will cost to replace these items in the future. You should also make an offer less than the seller’s asking price. Depending on the seller’s response, this will give you some room to negotiate.

The Bottom Line: Before You Buy, Ensure You Are Comfortable With The Risk

Before you buy any house, you need to be sure that you’re comfortable with the level of risk associated with the purchase. Remember that purchasing a home is a long-term investment, but it’s not without its pitfalls.

For example, you may end up paying more in repairs than you initially budgeted for, and you may need to hire a contractor to make those repairs. You could also end up dealing with unexpected issues, such as the roof needing to be replaced sooner than expected. Likewise, you may end up in a neighborhood that you don’t particularly like, or you may be on a plane flight path to the nearest airport. Before buying a house, be sure you know what you’re getting into.

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