When dreaming of a first home the options are endless. From a backyard oasis with a patio and swimming pool, to a gourmet kitchen with the most up-to-date appliances, plenty of space to entertain friends or a gorgeous master bedroom suite, no first time home buyers wish list is the same. However, in reality, it is not always possible to find a first home with everything, so buyers must decide in advance what items are “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” on a first home wish list.
To help first-time home buyers, we have provided the following five tips to help determine what they will need vs. what is nice to have in a first home.
Know your budget: The first step to creating a list of “must-haves” is to be realistic about what is affordable and determine a budget. Buyers should enlist a local real estate agent to help with the home search. An agent with years of expertise understands the local market and can help buyers find comparable home prices and determine what is affordable in their budget.
Find that perfect “location, location, location”: Everyone has heard this phrase before when it comes to real estate, and while the surrounding neighborhood and home itself may improve over time, the physical location will remain the same. Buyers should determine in advance how close they would like to live to their work, schools or extended family. A short commute to work, proximity to family or having easy access to highways and mass transit are often “must-haves.” The location will also determine some home amenities that are possible or difficult to have within the buyer’s budget. For example, if a buyer has to live close to work in a big city, they may have to cross a garage or outdoor space from their wish list.
Determine non-negotiable accommodations: A comfortable place for everyone in the family is always a “must have.” For a family of four, three bedrooms may be non-negotiable. For a family with grandparents living at home, an extra bedroom on the first floor may also be non-negotiable. After determining the budget and neighborhood, the most important factor is that everyone living in the home has a comfortable place to stay.
Pick a lifestyle fit: After fulfilling the most important needs, buyers should find out what features of a home will best fit their lifestyle. For example, buyers who love to cook and entertain may want a home with a gourmet kitchen and decide to give up the large master bedroom. Or, buyers who love to spend time outdoors may compromise a large family room for a big backyard.
Have a vision: When looking at a first home, buyers should avoid getting distracted by decorations, paint or flooring that may not fit their taste. Items such as paint color or carpeting are easy to fix and always worth compromising on. If everything else about a home fits the wish list, a new coat of paint and a little redecorating are easy finishing touches on a dream home.