Impulse buying. We’ve all heard the term and many of us have succumbed to the temptation to indulge in the act, especially in a retail setting.
It’s why the chewing gum and candy bars are located where folks line up to pay for their groceries. It’s the lure of the basket of low-priced goodies near the cash register at your favorite bath and body store.
Unfortunately, overspending on a home, especially one that may not fit your wants and needs, is far more traumatic to your finances than impulse buying at the grocery store.
Psychologists say that the best way to avoid impulse buying (and, thus, overspend) is by having a clear idea of how much you can spend, arming yourself with a detailed list of what you need and not allowing yourself to be distracted.
This is good advice for house hunters as well
So, step number one, before you dive into creating a wish list, is to visit a lender to find out how much you can afford to spend on a home. There’s no sense looking for a home with tennis courts if you can only afford a condo, right?
Now, on to the wish list.
Make it realistic
Now that you know your home-buying budget, let’s get real on the wish list. To help you get your thoughts flowing, consider the following:
- What you most deeply value in a home
- What you cannot tolerate in a home
Think about these items in regards to not only where you currently live but other homes you’ve lived in as well.
If another bathroom is something of value to you, put it on the list. If you need a snappy commute, put that on the list. Avid gardener? Ensure the home has the space for you to create the garden of your dreams.
Remember, however, that this isn’t a fantasy list. Each item on the wish list should be possible to find in a home within your budget.
Which neighborhood do you want to live in?
Once you get the home’s details nailed down, it’s time to figure out where you want the home to be located. Here are some things to think about:
- Proximity to preferred school(s)
- Does the area fit your lifestyle? If you have children you’ll want to figure out if there are lots of other kids for them to play with. On the other hand, if you want peace and quiet, you’ll want the opposite in a neighborhood.
- Crime affects everyone and if it’s a concern, you’ll need to do some research. Regulations forbid real estate agents from discussing crime rates with consumers, but there are other ways to sleuth. Check with the local police department and go online to areavibes.com and the US Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website.
- Any future plans for the area? Check with the city planning office.
- What are the neighbors like? You can get a good idea about this by actually stopping and talking to anyone you see outside. Also pay attention to how well nearby homes are maintained because this will impact the future value of the home.
Don’t forget to bring your list with you when we meet. This way we can find (hopefully) exactly what you’re looking for.