7 Steps to Home Ownership
by Tricia Ebert, Realtor®, CSA®, ABR®, BPOR®, CDPE®
Last week we discussed where to find where your dream home in terms of the city and neighborhood. Now we'll deal with finding you the type of home you want!
(4) Zeroing in on your dream home: In order to find your ideal
home, you need to get clear about not just the neighborhood you like, but also what you want and don’t want in a house.
What are the minimum numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms you can live with? Do
you have to have a fireplace or can you live without it? What about a pool? If
you’re looking at condos and townhouses, what is the pet policy? Does the
Homeowners Association limit pet ownership to small dogs and cats only, and you
have 3 large German Shepherds? That could be a problem.
What condition do you want your house to be in? Can you afford to
remodel a fixer-upper? How good are you at remodeling and repairs? Do you have
the skills to do some of the work yourself? Or do you need to find a house
that’s “move-in ready” where it’s already been remodeled and updated?
What about the style of the house? Do you love Spanish style
architecture or hate it? Do you like traditional style houses? What about English
Tudor? One story or two? If you have knee problems, you don’t want to buy a
two-story house. Do you like older houses or newer ones? How big a yard do you
want? Are you planning to grow a
vegetable garden? Do you need a fence to protect your cat or dog from roaming
the neighborhood? Are you good at landscaping?
All of these details, if figured out in advance, will help
tremendously when looking for a home. One way to flesh out these preferences is
by looking at houses on the Internet. Slog through 10 to 15 houses and look at
all the pictures. Which ones look good and feel good to you? Which ones don’t?
If you can’t figure this out in advance, you will quickly figure
it out when you physically go to properties with your Realtor. Be sure to take notes about each house you
see, making sure to write down what you like or don’t like about each house.
If you’re not sure you’ll remember all the details, you can snap some pictures along the way. I suggest taking a photo
of the street sign and the number on the front of the house first. This will
help you identify each property when you talk about it later. After you’ve
taken photos of each room, you’ll know you’re looking at a new property when
you see a new street sign and number on a house.
It can also be helpful to bring a
measuring tape with you to see how big the rooms are. If you have a king size bed with
two large nightstands, a large dresser and chest of drawers, it might be hard
to tell if a bedroom will be large enough for all that furniture. If you
measure it, then you have that information when you’re looking at the pictures
you took and the notes you made. Of course, furniture can be sold and new
furniture can be purchased, but if you love your living room or bedroom set,
you probably want a house where you can easily fit your furniture.
Next week: We'll discuss what to do when you've found "the one." Similar to the way you feel when you meet someone you really like and want to get to know better, you'll know when you've found your dream home. Step 5 is about what actions to take next. See you then! :-)