Home Buying Criteria: When Should I Say “Yes”?
I like it, but it’s a little bit further from my job. I like it, but there’s not enough yard space. I like it but…
When buying a home, most people have a relatively clear mental picture of their dream house. With the perfect aesthetic and all the functional requirements, it’s easy to envision it being your home. Sometimes dream becomes reality: we find the perfect fit that checks all our boxes.
But what happens when your dream house isn’t available? What happens when each of your options fulfill part of your dream — but not all of it? How do you decide when to settle for “good” over “perfect”? The answers aren’t always obvious. However, with the right frame of mind, you can be confident that you’ll make the right decision based on your wants and needs.
It Starts With You
Before you are equipped to make a good buying decision, you need to be able to articulate your reasons for buying and the implications of each scenario. Some people are looking to stop renting and to have their money go towards an asset they own. Their current situation is stable, but home ownership is the next logical step for them. Others are relocating for a job or for family reasons and are working with a tight timeframe. Or there could be a need to have more (or less) space. The list goes on. But in considering each of these scenarios, you can see how each has its own set of factors that influence your purchase decision.
Determining Your Factors
The factors you’ll consider when buying a house are not new or surprising. In fact, we’ve covered the Home Buying Phases previously. To summarize, you’ll need to determine your budget, location, space requirements (size and features), and timeline. Each buying scenario is going to put a different emphasis on different factors — and each factor leads to its own series of questions that need to be answered.
There are also external factors to consider. As of early 2021, we are in a very strong seller’s market. Interest rates are low and there is a large pool of buyers. The supply of homes for sale is far less than current demand, so buyers have intense competition on almost every home they are bidding on.
This can alter each of the individual factors in profound ways. Understanding how all these factors work together is critical and is where finding the right mortgage lender and real estate agent can help set you up for success.
Even with the expertise of a great team, the various factors at play may conflict with one another. It may not be possible to find a home that matches your budget, desired location, and space requirements. The question is, how do you make smart tradeoffs to get to the best possible outcome? The answer is not always simple and isn’t the same for everyone. However, if you have taken the time to thoroughly prepare and understand your buying factors, you can properly rank the factors and go over the ramifications of the choice with your real estate agent.
The goal when making tradeoffs is not to try to project outcomes down the road, but to give you confidence in your decision based on your situation. If you understand your buying factors and trust your real estate agent has your best interests at heart, then no matter what you might have to give up to attain your critical factors, you’ll know it was the correct choice based on the information at hand.
Buying a home is a complex process with many steps. Each step brings in a unique set of factors based on your situation. That’s why it’s critically important to find the right agent to walk you through the process and communicate thoroughly along the way. Armed with the right information, you’ll be set up to feel comfortable and confident with your ultimate home buying decision.
Paul Augustine, Associate Broker at RE/MAX Centre Realtors