What are you looking for in a new home?

Buying a new home is one of the most important life experiences you will ever have. Your home is meant to be your refuge, that place you can count on to be comfortable and where you will feel content.

Of course, buying a home can also be stressful (moving is said to be second only to the death of a loved one in terms of stress). It’s good to be prepared ahead of time and to be as knowledgeable as you can about the full process.

One of the best ways to get ready is to know what you are looking for! This might seem obvious, but in fact getting your thoughts organized ahead of time can save you a lot of time when you start actually looking at homes with your agent.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and sit down with your partner, if you are sharing your home with someone aside from yourself. One of the first surprises you might encounter is finding out that you and your partner don’t necessarily agree on the details. You might not have known exactly what those were until you write everything down. Now is the time to resolve these differences as best you can!

It’s great to start off with a list of the things you’d like to have in a new home. This includes features, such as how many bedrooms and what size yard you’d like to have. Some people prefer an open layout for their main living spaces, and some prefer separate rooms for their kitchen and dining rooms. Do you like to garden? Do you need one-level living, or a space suitable for an elderly parent? This is the time to dream big.

Next, start to home in on the location you want to live in. What are you looking for in this area? Do you want to be close to green space? Is being able to walk to restaurants and other shopping important? Consider school needs, distance from friends and family, and how far you want to be from work. A helpful thing to do is to drive around to different neighborhoods, stop for coffee and get out of the car and walk around. Visit at different times of the day and both during weekends and weekdays, if you can.

Now comes a more difficult part! Decide what you can and can’t be flexible about. Here’s the thing—it’s rare to find a house that hits every last one of your buttons, no matter how much you spend on it. If you found most things on your list, what could you let go of?

Think about what you might be able to change in the future to get what you’d ideally like to have. If you were hoping for one more bathroom, is there a spot where that could go down the line? If you were looking for a home office, is there a sun porch that could be winterized? Is there room to build out a basement, or add a family room in the back?

Sometimes buyers will rule out a home that doesn’t have enough garage stalls, for example. But could you add one? If you are willing to look at homes that don’t fit your wish list exactly, you may find that it can change, or that you don’t need that item as much as you thought you did. In today’s seller’s market, flexibility can be a real boon.

Now that you’ve figured out what you are looking for, it’s time to sit down with your agent and begin the process of finding your new home!

Rod Helm aims to give each buyer a hands-on experience. What this means is that when you talk to Rod about what you’re looking for in a home, he will treat you and your needs as unique. There is no cookie cutter way to look for a home and you won’t be handed off to an assistant who isn’t familiar with your individual story. Click here to find out more about The Rod Helm Group.