Last Updated on January 21, 2021 by Maggie Sutton
If you’re looking to buy a house, finding the perfect one for you and your family can be tricky. There are so many different factors to consider that you might have to compromise on some things. But, as you begin the home buying process, one of the questions your real estate agent will ask is, “What are you looking for in a home?” It seems like a simple enough question, but there are many variables to consider. Knowing what to look for when buying a house allows you to narrow down your house search. It will save you valuable time and help you find the right house for you and your family. The best exercise is to download the Homes for Heroes home buying checklist and follow this 3 step process.
Step 1: Picture Your Dream Home
The first step in determining what you want in a house is to picture your dream home. Whether it’s marble countertops, a huge backyard, a finished basement or a large master suite, list everything you want in a home. It’s OK to go big, even if you think it might be unrealistic or unattainable. The main reason to list ALL your wants is that you may find some of the features on the wish list are actually in your price range or other search criteria as you go through your search. Plus, this is the best first step to take in the prioritization process.
The point is to start with your ultimate wish list and then refine your list to something more feasible. As long as you remember your budget and don’t get carried away dreaming of multiple kitchen islands or backyard water slides, this exercise is a great first step in fine-tuning your home buying checklist.
Step 2: Prioritize What is Most Important
Once you’ve painted a vision of your perfect home, it’s time to get real. The next step is to prioritize your “must-haves” and sort out the “nice-to-haves”. This allows you to really figure out what to look for during your house search. For example, if you’re a couple with two kids, you may want five bedrooms so you can have a guest room and a home office, but you probably only need three bedrooms. Or maybe you are working remotely and need a dedicated office rather than using a spare bedroom or a common room. These may seem obvious, but putting them in writing helps streamline your house search and make things easier for you and your real estate agent when it comes to making decisions and negotiating the deal.
To make prioritization simpler, Homes for Heroes created this home buying checklist to help organize your thoughts. We’ve broken things down into categories like property type, style, minimum square feet and other important home buying considerations. Use the section on the right-hand side to rank home features from most important to least important so you make sure you get the top items on your list.
If you’re a first-time home buyer, the checklist will help you focus your ideas and set realistic expectations. Even if you’re purchasing your fifth home, it’s still helpful to breakdown all the things you love, hate and want to improve upon with your current house so you can get exactly what you’re looking for in your next home.
Chances are you will not find a home on the market that has absolutely everything on your list and is finished in exactly your style. So, you will likely need to make some compromises along the way. By prioritizing your wants and needs, you can easily see where you’re willing to compromise.
Step 3: Always Think Value
While the home buying checklist will focus on your immediate needs, always try to evaluate how any item being considered adds to the home’s future resale value. Talk with your real estate specialist about value items and what to look for when buying a house. One of the most important is the location of the house. There are many other features that add value to a house such as; granite countertops, landscaping, dual-pane windows, and hardwood flooring. Maybe the best strategy for you is to spend less to purchase your new home, and instead spend time on future DIY renovation projects. If you’re willing to do the work and live with some renovations, you have a great opportunity to add valuable equity over time. Not only that, but you can build, design and style the house the way you prefer. If you want to, you can keep some of the old aspects of the house too, like the flooring for instance, as that is always quite a big job – you can instead freshen it up and look into hardwood floor sanding, or a professional carpet cleaning service. The main focus is getting value for money, and that doesn’t always necessarily mean buying new.
Consider the Potential
When you visit a house showing and take a stroll through the home, really focus on its potential. Don’t get caught up on things like wall color or ugly carpet. You can always replace those things – or, at the very least, cover them with some pleasant-looking art for the time being. Instead, think about what you can change or update to make the house exactly what you want over time. If the kitchen appliances don’t match, who cares? If they work and come with the house, you won’t need to buy new ones, at least right away.
Save on a House with Homes for Heroes
At Homes for Heroes, we want to thank you for the commitment you’ve made to your community. That’s why we provide incredible savings when you buy a home through our program. Register today to start working with one of our real estate specialists. As a firefighter, EMS, police officer, active military or veteran, doctor, nurse, or teacher, you’ll receive Hero Rewards after closing. The average saving received by heroes who work with our real estate and mortgage specialist is $2,400. No matter what ends up on your home buying checklist, we’ll help you find the right home and save money in the process.
Ready to start your house search and find your ideal home? Register with Homes for Heroes and we’ll help you narrow down your wish list and save money when you find the perfect fit.