Home buying is a complex, legalistic endeavor complicated by emotions and uncertainty. As individuals, we get very little practice at buying a home and we seem to be plagued by the best intentions of family, friends and co-workers offering their sometimes unsolicited opinions. There is a lot to learn about home buying, and it’s not so much about the technical aspects of how to do it. More importantly are your own personal issues and expectations. Here are several ideas to help make the task easier, more efficient and less frustrating.
Learn the Ropes – Ask All Your Questions
Ask any and every question that is important to you. What is happening and why it’s happening are things every buyer should understand because informed buyers make better decisions. There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Don’t be reluctant or embarrassed to ask. Quality buyer representation implies providing an explanation of what is about to happen, or should be happening and why. There are reasons why things are done in a particular manner or certain documents must be signed, and you as the client should expect an explanation. Pay attention to the details because that’s where the devil is.
Differentiate Needs and Wants
Distinguish between what you want and what you really need. For example, what are the three most important things that you most want to change about your present housing situation? What neighborhood characteristics are most important? Make an effort to pinpoint the features of a home that will most greatly improve your lifestyle and comfort. Be realistic, it’s not a wish list. Make a genuine effort to stay in the real world of what is actually doable within the price point you are comfortable. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the area you’re looking for, ask yourself if you would be willing to change the target area or change the needs list.
Geographically Target Your Home Search
Focus your search on one, two or maybe at most three neighborhoods in which you would most prefer to live. For example, if you really want to live in a hipster neighborhood with its unique ambience and cultural imprint, look in East Austin, South Congress or Travis Heights, and don’t bother looking at Tarrytown, Circle C or Canyon Creek. Find the neighborhood that best matches your lifestyle and comfort zone, and search diligently. In a “hot market” like Austin, the best homes at every price level move quickly. Like the great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to say: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Being proactive in your search will greatly improve your chances of finding the most suitable home.
Check Your Assumptions and Be Proactive
Verify whether you can afford to pay the price it will take to buy a suitable home in the neighborhood you most desire. Speak to a lender early in the process and go over all the costs and fees. If you can’t afford to live in the neighborhood you really want and you don’t want to live in the neighborhoods you can afford…wait. Defer your home search until you are in a position to buy in a neighborhood that you will enjoy coming home to. Buying a home in a neighborhood you despise is a hellish existence. Check out the basics, such as, commute distances and times, school quality and availability, traffic and airplane noise levels, property tax rates, proximity to church, shopping and medical services for starters.
Understand the Perfect Home Doesn’t Exist
Home buying is a competitive activity. There are loads of buyers out there combing the internet and the streets looking for great buys. It’s highly improbable that you will find the bargain of a lifetime in perfect condition that everyone else has missed. There are no “blue ribbon deals.” No home or property is perfect. Every property has it’s blemishes and imperfections. Even when you build a custom home from scratch there will be things that you would do differently. Finally, remember, you are looking for one suitable home. When you find it, you’ll know.
Considering Buying a Home in Austin?
We specialize in representing home buyers and can help you navigate the process and get a great deal. Check out our Austin Home Buyer page for more info about our unique Austin Buyer Representation Program. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation conversation. We’d be happy to sit down and discuss the home buying process with you and determine if we would be the right people to help you through the process.