Is the search for your dream home getting to be a lot more than difficult than you expected? Maybe you figured it would just be a matter of time before you came up the perfect setting that you’ve always envisioned. It’s got to be out there right? Well, yes, if you can keep an open mind. Here are some practical ways of conducting your home search.
1. Channel your inner yogi. The home search process can take on average 11 months so of course there may be times of frustration. But keep an open mind (and a good sense of humour) because who knows, it may just be what keeps you going during a long day of viewings – to catch that one perfect house you might have otherwise missed out on.
2. Research and educate yourself. Having the right tools includes arming yourself with the necessary info. Did you research real estate websites, newspapers and magazines? Check. Have you found a licensed real estate agent whom you trust, who understands your market? Check. More information never hurts and finding a reliable professional with the right expertise will lead you to success.
3. To thine own self be true. You need to assess your needs and get very specific. It’s not just about the house you want but whether the home and its neighbourhood will support the lifestyle you want. It may be the perfect house but if the neighbourhood it’s in does not have all of the amenities and features (ie: good schools) you need, then in the long run it may have not been the right choice for you. Be honest with yourself and up front with your agent.
4. Get your renovation on! If you fall in love with a neighbourhood then do consider even the cheapest house in it because you may be able to renovate it to your liking. Say the homes average $800,000 but you find a smaller property and modest house listed for $350,000 and your budget is $500,000. Spending an extra $100,000 to build an addition, expand the kitchen and master bedroom, well, that totals $450,000 which was still in keeping with your budget.
5. But don’t “over” renovate. Some structural work like creating a great room with an open concept kitchen, dining and living room may actually make a home a plus for you. But watch out for cosmetic work that you don’t like which you’d have remove and fix, which could be an unnecessary cost that’s avoidable.
6. Look outside (or inside, rather) the box. By seeing the bigger picture, you might be able to see past the duckling right at the swan. For example, you may initially avoid homes that have been made into a duplex or triplex but you should know that changing it back into a single dwelling is not as difficult as you may imagine. Tearing down some kitchens, opening up walls, some new paint – hey, some of the remodelling may even be DIY-possible.
7. Location, location, location. You can have control over your house and property but there’s not much you can do to change an entire neighbourhood.
8. Make sure there’s parking. Whether it’s a condo or a house, parking should be part of the investment. It makes your property more valuable for resale; compare two similar homes but one doesn’t come with parking – which do you think will sell better? And perhaps you may be able to rent out the space should you not be a car owner.
9. Make a list of what you can live with. Unless you’re looking at a custom home built to your specifications, it’s not likely going to be your perfect house. Have a frank discussion about what you can and cannot live with.
10. Think with your head not just your heart. Purchasing a home is a huge investment but it’s also an emotional decision so be prepared when things don’t work out. Don’t forget that if you lose some bids or a deal falls through beyond your control, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Rest assured one will work out for you.