This 8-week series, How to Find the Perfect Home for You and Your Budget, will show you how your next home can match your wants, needs and, most importantly, your budget. There’s no reason you can’t dream big with this next purchase, all the while working within your budget. Even though you may feel more financially secure if you plan to use funds from the sale of your current home, moving up to a new home requires some self-evaluation of what’s next, a mortgage strategy to make it affordable, and then putting it all together for a successful purchase of your “perfect” home.
When you’re thinking about buying your next home, what pops up in your mind?
- Are you most excited about living near your favorite restaurants, a convenient bike trail, or seeking a particular neighborhood vibe?
- Are you most excited about having a home with awesome features, like a chef’s kitchen, deluxe master suite, or a large yard with a patio?
Usually people tend to lean toward one or the other — being a “house person” or “location person.” Which are you?
My goal when working with any buyer is to find them the home they want, in the location they want, and within the budget they’ve set (or at least as close to that as possible).
Although some buyers will need to compromise on one or a few things during their home search, most of my clients are pleasantly surprised by how close we can get them to their “perfect” next home.
And in order to accomplish that for your own home-buying journey — we need to know what’s most important to you! That way we know what to aim for and what to focus on.
For example, a common reason for moving is needing more space or wanting a bigger yard. When space is the driving reason for moving, that means the location is not as important. If that’s you, we will prioritize size and find homes that meet your space need and then location will follow.
On the flip side, some buyers stick to the real estate creed of “location, location, location” and make the neighborhood and community their priority in their home search. If that’s you, then we’ll focus on location and strategize to work within your budget in finding a home that can work for you.
So let’s find out if you’re more of a “house” or “location” person for your next home purchase!
What Matters Most to You — 3 Lists
It’s time for a little self-analysis and to reflect on your own experience in your current home. This time around you may have a better understanding of what matters most to you and what doesn’t in a home and location.
No matter what, you should take the time to really understand your wants and needs before looking for a new home, whether it’s a condo, townhome, or single-family house. Your honest answers are what will help guide your home search.
And if you are planning to purchase this home with family members, a friend or a partner, then go through this analysis together to ensure your decision making takes everyone’s thoughts into account.
Make three lists (see below) and use some of the brainstorming prompts to help get you going:
- What are the characteristics you want in a location?
Do you see yourself in a more urban or city-like neighborhood, a rural setting, or a suburban town close to a nearby city? How close do you want to be to your favorite things in life, whether that be a running trail, a coffee shop, a dog park, or a playground for kids? How many things do you need to be able to walk to or drive to easily or better yet be in your neighborhood? Do you need to be close to public transportation for work or near an airport for travel? What features of a location will have the most the impact on your daily routine or make you feel happy and content? Are schools important?
And since you’re a current homeowner, how important is it to stay in your same community or neighborhood? Maybe you want to be near a certain school or school district, job or just love where you are living because of friends and family.
2) What’s important about your home other than location?
What are those features you dream about or feel like you lack now? How much space will you need for the time you want to live in this next home? What things do you really want on your list, such as yard space, office space, a garage, a primary bedroom with ensuite bath, more storage, a gourmet kitchen, etc? What about a favorite architectural style or type of home such as single-family, townhome, or condo? Does it have to be pet-friendly?
3) What is your absolute deal breaker(s) when it comes to a home or a location?
Do you feel this way — You just know you don’t want a home that has this certain thing!
Some common deal breakers include: street parking only, traffic/busy road, one-story home, not enough storage space, long commute time, not close enough to neighborhood amenities, no public transportation options, no garage, etc.
Now see what really stands out on your list and makes you feel that it’s a “must” for you. Is it on the location list or the house list?
This entire analysis also should help you determine what factors you’re willing to compromise on and how to prioritize what’s MOST important to you in this next home. That way we can get as close as possible to what you want and need most.
“Location, Location, Location” Love
If you’ve determined that “location” is your answer, then you know that “where you live” impacts everything about your lifestyle (and you want that lifestyle no matter what!).
You also have the attitude that you can always “change” the home to make it better suit you but you can’t change the location. This is an important factor when you consider resale and living in a neighborhood that will retain its value.
Since location and neighborhood mean a lot to you, we’ll look at the budget you’ve set to see what type of home you can purchase in the location you want to be in. Again, most of my clients are pleasantly surprised by their options once this level of clarity is in place.
Here are some options to keep in mind if your budget is tighter and you want to prioritize being in a particular location:
- Buy a smaller home, a fixer-upper, or one that lacks some features you’d like but don’t really need.
- Consider another home type. If single-family homes are too expensive, look at townhomes in the area. They can have similar inside space but are less costly. What about a condo unit?
If you can’t find anything within your ideal area that fits your budget and most of your needs, then we can start looking outside the box. You don’t want to spend years waiting to move to your next home. Here are some options:
- Be open to looking at other locations that have the same neighborhood “feel” you’re seeking but have less expensive homes. This can be an option when proximity to a job or school is not a factor.
- If proximity is a factor, consider looking at homes on the peripheral of the “perfect” neighborhood if homes are less expensive or have more of the features you would like in a home. Even though you may not be living right in the middle of this neighborhood, you may still be able to enjoy many of its nearby amenities.
If you’ve determine that “house” is your answer, you know that a home’s features are the key selling point for you rather than a specific location. Spending time at home, entertaining, and enjoying your space will make you the most happy.
Some buyers lean toward this answer since they would rather buy a move-in ready home and be flexible with its location in order to find one within their budget. Or, even if a certain location is tempting, these buyers know that renovating a home or purchasing one too small is out of the question for them.
Believe it or not, it’s actually easier when location is not too restricted in your search. Here are some options for you to consider:
- Once you know the home features you must have, then you’ll have an idea where you can buy within your budget. So your location search becomes flexible until you find the “right” home for you.
- It’s usually better to start with location and then focus on the home and budget, but the fact you are a “home person” doesn’t mean you don’t care where you live!! It means you’re more open to looking at different locations than eliminating features.
- Keep in mind that buying the biggest home on the block or buying the perfect home in a not-so-great neighborhood can be risky when it comes to retaining value and resale. You still want to make an educated decision when determining a location.
With a little give and take you can find a new home you’ll love in a location that can work for you.
I’m Here To Help
If you have any questions about being a “house” or “location” person, please contact me (link to your email). I have another list of questions that we’ll go through together.
Your answers to those questions will provide greater clarity to your search for a home and make sure you end up with the “perfect” home, in the right location, for the price you want to pay.
Just know that you can have what you want in your next home and I’m here to help you get there!
Be in touch well before you want to move so we can figure this “stuff” out first, which will make the process of finding your next home way more enjoyable when it is time to start looking.
In next week’s article, The 3 Steps Most Buyers Skip When Buying a Home, you’ll see what you must do to stay within budget and making financial decisions that are right for your next purchase. So stay tuned each week for new topics in my Find the Perfect Home for You and Your Budget series!
I'm Brooke Taylor and I love helping first-time homebuyers and sellers make their real estate goals a reality.
Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true!
1307 E Southern Ave. #101
Mesa, AZ 85204
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