I'm writing with a heavy heart today. Our good friend, mentor, teacher, coach and fearless leader, Richard Badger, passed away last week. His knowledge of the Mount Washington Valley and his associated involvement in countless aspects of life here will be sorely missed. It always made my day when he would comment on one of my articles. I never saw him without a smile on his face and a kind word on his lips. He will be dearly missed.
Since we are on a bit of a buyer barge right now, I wanted to take a small step back and talk about a little strategy when it comes to buying. I tend to be a bit impulsive. When I see something I'm interested in, I jump in with both feet. I've tempered that insanity over the years, but it still gets me in trouble here and there. With a home purchase, the last thing you want to be is impulsive. Most of us don't have that kind of money floating around, so let's dig in.
The first question to answer is: Why? Why do you want to buy a home right now? Are you excited about interest rates or market fluctuations in your area? Did you just get married or divorced and need a new place? Are you sick of paying rent? (No, really. Aren't you sick of paying rent?!) This information can help your buyer's agent in their search on your behalf. Perhaps the reasons you think are important are not as urgent as originally understood. This is a good question for which you should have a solid answer.
Next, you (and your agent) should be aware of how long you have been searching for a home. This is not to say that, if you have been searching for more than (insert length of time here) that you are not serious about buying. It just means that your priorities are such that you are not in a big rush or you are not working with the right agent. The job of an agent is to find you a home. If you are serious about buying (and your agent knows this), they should be bringing you potential matches as often as possible. You should also not feel guilty about telling them exactly what you want. The more information they have, the better of a job they can do for you.
What if you found the perfect home today? Are you ready? This question is mostly about your finances and not your readiness to "buy" a home. Are you pre-approved? Do you have down-payment and closing-cost funds available?
"When I am working with buyers who are financially ready to pounce, it indicates a higher level of urgency and preparedness," said Badger Realty agent Tara Peirce. "It is obvious we have moved beyond the level of tire-kicker and this buyer is ready to start their life in their new home," she continued.
What are your favorite areas of town? This question is one of my personal favorites. It indicates to me that you have taken the time to learn about the area (especially if you don't live here full-time) and have made decisions about where you want to put down roots. Do you want to be close to the hustle and bustle of Main Street? Do you prefer the neighborhoods, parks and playgrounds further into the 'burbs? Do you want to commune with the deer and moose and prefer them to "human" neighbors? Knowing this will not only help you narrow down your choices, but the answers to those questions help your agent find you that perfect home.
What is your favorite part about the ideal home you have pictured in your head? Is it a five-bay garage with a car lift? (Is that just me?) Maybe it's a massive backyard. Does a finished basement complete with media room just rev your engine? How about a spacious kitchen with the best appliances and countertops for days! Just like a list of "must haves," you should also know which room/area of the property you will look forward to coming home to at the end of the day. It will help keep things in perspective.
On the flip side of that question is, what is going to be a deal-breaker for you? For me, I can't imagine living where I can hear the constant drone of cars passing by. I also really don't want neighbors on all three sides of my home. I need some space (read: acreage) and privacy. For you, maybe it is the lack of a basement or garage. Perhaps a set number of bedrooms is critical to you. All of these variables make the filtering of potential homes much easier and help keep you focused on your ultimate goal.
The process of buying a home is a tough road. Honestly, for someone like me who hates making big decisions, it can be a bit painful. My hope with these suggestions is that you'll begin to carve out a picture of what you need, want and don't want in your next home. With these in mind, you and your agent will be better suited to find you that awesome new place.