Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:
“Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent.”
So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s too far out of reach.
If possible, get a loan commitment. That is a formal letter from a lender stating that the applicant has met all of the qualifications for receiving a loan, and that the lender promises a specific amount of money to the borrower. This level of lender approval shows the seller you are committed and a qualified buyer.
Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here is a great way to think about them before you begin:
If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
These are features that you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it is a contender (examples: a second home office, garage, etc.).
This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you will need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it is a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).
Critical Step - Real Estate Advisor
Finally, if you have not already identified and started working with a DFWREAdvisors Real Estate Advisor | REALTOR®, once you have created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, do so and discuss it with them. They will be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.
Crafting your home search checklist may seem like a small task, but it can save you time and money. It is also one of the keys to being successful in today’s competitive market. Let’s connect so we can work together to find a home that fits your wants and needs.