December 19, 2022

If you’re searching for your next home in the Richmond Virginia area, you may have a long list of qualities that you want it to have. It’s important to separate non-negotiables from features that would be nice to have, but aren’t essential, so you don’t waste time looking for a “perfect” house that simply doesn’t exist.

Figure Out What’s Truly Important to You

Think about your family’s lifestyle, plus your current and future needs, to decide what qualities your new house absolutely has to have. You may need a specific number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a large backyard, a good school district, a short commute, parks and other activities nearby, or a house that a disabled family member can navigate easily.

Once you’ve made a list of all the features a house must have, make another list of qualities that you would like it to have, but that you don’t consider dealbreakers. For example, maybe you would be willing to consider a house with a small backyard if a park is right down the street.

Share both lists with your real estate agent. Knowing which features are essential will help your agent find houses that meet those criteria so you don’t waste time looking at properties that don’t fit the bill.

Consider Your Budget

Even if a house with all the features you want does exist, you may not be able to afford it. Get preapproved for a mortgage before you begin shopping for a new home so you know how much you can borrow, but don’t plan to take out a loan for the full amount. The figure a lender provides in a preapproval letter doesn’t consider possible costs for home maintenance and repairs, childcare, healthcare or savings for retirement, and other long-term goals. Leave room in your budget for those expenses.

Know When and When Not to Pass on a House

If you have a lengthy wish list, you may decide not to buy a house that has everything you need because it doesn’t have everything you want. You may keep searching for an ideal home that isn’t out there, which can cause you to become frustrated when you don’t find it. When you do finally find a house that checks most of the boxes, you may get into a bidding war and pay more than you should, or you may pay too high a price to get a house with features that you wanted, only to discover that you don’t really need them after all.

Sometimes, buyers who can’t find their dream house become so frustrated that they settle for a home that doesn’t suit them just to be done with the whole process. Lowering your standards and buying a house that isn’t right for your family or that’s in an undesirable location is also a mistake.

Referring back to your lists of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” qualities can help when you feel torn. Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your agent.

If you are thinking that now is the time to dip the toes back into home buying, and have questions or just want to get started, feel free to let me know how I can help and if there is anything I can answer for you!