When it comes to finding the right home for you to buy, there are a lot of things to consider. There are so many different homes, and lifestyle options around, that the process can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you keep looking at house after house which doesn’t meet your needs or desires. There is a simple way that you can help narrow down potential homes to view, and make your life less stressful. Create a Buyer’s Checklist.
The more detailed you can get with your checklist, the easier it will be to narrow your search down. This will also save you time, and that is always a good thing. I suggest you begin your list with the big items first- location and budget. Keep these at the top of your checklist, as the foundation of what your home should be. If you have a specific neighborhood you are looking in, that will help narrow down your searching. But I also recommend you include some surrounding neighborhoods so that you can broaden your search should you not find what you want within your first choice of location. When it comes to finding a home to buy, a little bit of flexibility is helpful, as the listed houses will dictate what homes you can choose from.
The rest of your Buyer’s Checklist should be split into three categories, Qualities Needed, Qualities Wanted and Flexible Options. Under the Qualities Needed section, list the things you truly need in a home, the things that will make a large impact in your living situation. The Qualities Wanted section is where you can list all the things you want in your home. This is where you can day dream a bit and get creative about what you include in your checklist. The third section is there to help you decide what you can live without, should enough needs and wants otherwise be met. If you have an item on your Qualities Wanted Section that you can live without, note it in the Flexible Options section. This section should also include the things that you personally are not as concerned with, but which often present themselves in a home search. It can also be helpful to number all the qualities in your Buyer’s Checklist in order of importance. This can help you focus on what it is you truly need and want to find in a home.
So now that you know the three categories to create for your home buying checklist, what kind of things should go on each? No one can answer this but you. But to help get you started, I have provided a brief list of the types of things to consider in each section of your checklist.
- Number of Bedrooms/Bathrooms
- Fenced/ Private Yard
- Number of floors (are stairs a consideration?)
- Other physical needs that must be met
- Access to public transit
- Proximity to local schools, shopping, and work
- Parking/storage of your vehicle
- Style of home- older/modern; single family/ condo/townhome
- Proximity to major roads – do you want to live quietly, or enjoy the vibrancy of an urban locale?
- Renovations/ Updates -Do you want a fixer upper to make your own, or not?
- Porches, patios & decks -how much outdoor seating area do you want and for what purposes?
- Yard size and type- Are you looking for an English Garden or large lawn for the kids to play in?
- Kitchen- are you a cook? Do you prefer gas or electricity? How much storage do you want, or how much counter space?
- Bathrooms- Do you want double sinks? A vanity? Shower/Bath?
- Lighting- Do you want security lights already in place? Do you want a lot of natural light with plenty of windows?
- Fireplace, basement, attic storage, closets, garage, laundry space, pool/ hot tub, office/den
- Yard size- how small of a yard is ok with you?
- Landscaping- If there isn’t a garden, would you be up for creating it yourself?
- Lighting fixtures- Are you willing to replace fixtures you don’t like?
- Storage space- what can you live without? If there is a basement would less closet space be ok?
- Number of rooms total
- Appliances already in the home
The more detailed you can be with your Buyer’s Checklist, the better chance you have in finding the home that is just right for you. When you are ready to buy or sell a home, we at Haylen Group are here to help you with all of your real estate needs! If you are unsure what your options are, call Helen Chong at (408) 800-LIST or email at Helen@HaylenGroup.com. You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.