If you are thinking about buying a home, you must answer these 4 critical questions!
If you are thinking about buying a home, it is time to be honest with yourself. The answer to these 4 questions can be the foundation of being a happy home owner!
- What is your budget?
- What do you want?
- What do you need?
- What is the stuff you don’t want or need?
Your answers to these home buying questions affect each other!
No matter how bad you want something, if it busts your budget, it is a deal breaker! If a home is in your price range but does not have one of your needs it is a deal breaker. Understand?
What you want in a house may sound like an easy question. But a far better question for you is:
What Do You Want In a House and What Do You Need?
There’s a simple way to think about the difference between want and need. I need to eat every day but I want to eat steak every day. While it isn’t impossible to eat steak every day, it might not be the healthiest diet.
Some people have a tough time figuring out what is a want and what is a need. You need a structurally sound house with a bathroom, a kitchen, heat and utilities.
This is the bare minimum but it shows you that everything else could be considered a want. I would say that having AC is a must in our area as well but some people do get by without it.
Things such as a certain number of bedrooms or a specific school district could be deal breakers. You must determine what things are deal breakers or something you want.
I bet you have created a list of features that you’d love to have in your new home. Lots of home buyers dream about the features without thinking realistically.
Do You Know Your Home Buying Budget?
You would be surprised at how many people start looking at home before they even know how much they can spend. The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage and to set a maximum price based on a monthly payment that is comfortable for you!
If you’re ready to look at homes, you will need to talk to a lender and have a pre-approval letter. Your home buying budget is what determines if it is possible to afford your wants. You may find that what you want is impossible for the area you are looking in and your price range.
Imagine your perfect home. Now think about your budget. Can you truly afford a home with everything you want?
This is one of the ways that working with an experienced Realtor pays off. Your Realtor will know the area, what homes are selling for, and how much the extra stuff will add to the price.
Do You Know Your Home Buying Wants and Needs?
Carefully considering your wants and needs is the second step. You’re not likely to get everything you want in a home unless you’re building it from scratch. Your home search could be a depressing experience if you don’t separate the wants from the needs!
Consider “needs” to be genuine essential things that aren’t easy (or possible) to change. These are usually features that leave very little room for compromise. Your “wants” are things that belong on a wish list and are not deal breakers.
Sometimes, the wants are easy to distinguish from needs:
Needs – if this home doesn’t have this stuff, then it shouldn’t be considered. This is stuff like the distance from work or family, school district, or the number of bedrooms or bathrooms.
Wants – these are features you can add later or live without.
Here are some things to take into account when determining your wants and needs:
The first one isn’t exactly easy to change. Location! Do you need to be in a specific school district or closer to your job?
Do you want to live in town or out in the country? Taxes and homeowners insurance will vary depending on the location. This is something you must consider since it will affect your home buying budget.
The number of bedrooms or bathrooms can be both a want and a need. However, your budget may make it difficult to find exactly what you need.
Do you need a big yard? I like the idea of having some room between my home and my neighbors. But I hate cutting the yard. Have you thought about spending your free time cutting the grass? Do you own a mower that is suitable for the size property you are dreaming about?
Many home buyers want things like a master suite with a walk-in closet. Or an updated kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. I could go on and on about all the different features that some home buyers say is a must. If you are honest, these types of things are actually needs.
It’s OK to want features or amenities. And it is OK to buy a home with them as long as it fits your budget. Prioritize all the things you need and determine if they are actually something you want.
Sometimes Freebies Don’t Come Cheap
Do you remember I mentioned thinking about the stuff you don’t want or need? It is very likely you will find a home that is perfect except it has a feature you do not want.
For some people, it is a pool. For others, it is a formal dining room. For others, it is a big detached shop building. As long as the price is right, can you deal with the unwanted freebie?
Some freebies will require money to maintain or to remove. Be sure to allow room in your budget for this if it happens!
You could find yourself in the same situation I was in when I bought my home. I would be happy with a small yard. But a home hit the market that fit our budget, was in a great location and had the size and number of bedrooms we needed.
But the yard is freaking huge! We went from about a quarter acre to having almost 2 acres. When we first moved in, using our little push mower made cutting the yard an all day ordeal.
We had to decide if all the positives outweighed the negative of a big yard. You will probably also face decisions such as this so be prepared!
The Take Away
Now you know the 4 critical home buying questions. The next step is to ask these question. Be 100% honest with yourself.
Having your budget, wants and needs figured out will save you time, money and frustration. Plus letting your agent know his vital information will speed up your home search!
The secret is to be honest and realistic. You need to be flexible about what you can afford and what you must have. It’s normal for your wants and needs to change as you evaluate the houses for sale.
Features that were musts become less important after you see more properties. But, a feature that was a want might change to a need as well!
And most importantly, your budget must be the deciding factor on if a want becomes a need!