How to Stay On Track When Buying Your Next (or First Home)
When you decide to purchase a new home, there are SO MANY QUESTIONS.
What part of town?
What kind of floor-plan?
I have a pre-approval for a mortgage but should I spend it all?
Do I want to renovate the property?
Do I want move-in ready?
What things am I willing to compromise on?
Do I want open concept?
Am I ok with one of the kids in the basement?
Believe me, I’ve been there. Recently.
If you’ve been following my blog series, you’ll know that our family recently sold a large home. We ended up purchasing another home in the same city for our primary residence. The catch was, we really didn’t have a long time to decide what kind of home we wanted when the time finally came. My husband and I have bought and sold enough homes that we follow my cardinal rule, “THOU SHALT NOT PUT AN OFFER IN ON A HOUSE UNTIL YOURS IS PENDING FIRST”. I get the stress that comes with that and it’s nothing compared to the stress of losing out on a home that you may have put an offer in on.
Let’s back track about three months or so before we even put our home on the market. We spit-balled a number of different scenarios while trying to find clarity on what we wanted in our next property, but it didn’t come lightly. We literally circled around this discussion for MONTHS and the worst part was, we hadn’t even listed our home so we didn’t even know if we had to make these decisions!
Our conversations revolved around questions like, do we want a new build (our previous home was older and we really didn’t want the maintenance)?
How much money do we want to spend?
We want to be comfortable in our home when we come home and visit family, so how big of a home do we buy?
Do we buy new that doesn’t have landscaping?
An unfinished basement?
Do we buy in the inner city and get a suited property and rent out the basement or do we get an income suite in St Albert and rent out the basement?
All of these things were discussed and we investigated a lot of these options. If you have even the tiniest hint of anxiety (like I do) then you know decision making can feel like this overwhelming buffet of choices and options, leading to identifying possible ramifications of your choices (and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to identify all the “what if’s”).
We went and looked at new builds in a new neighbourhood. We looked at new half duplexes that were small and new half duplexes that were large and BEAUTIFUL (I love pretty things, so that really made me have to think about whether that was REALLY the most important thing for our family in this process). We looked at a newly renovated suited property in a mature neighbourhood and actually put in an offer on it. Went through our due diligence period (paid for an inspection too). We discovered some things in the inspection report we weren’t happy with, we pulled the plug on that deal. Back to square one.
When we were faced with “going back to the drawing board” again it felt overwhelming and I felt upset like, “can’t this just be easier”? My husband and I talked some more about what was important to hopefully find the clarity we needed. What ended up being the MOST important to us in this process was finding a home that was smaller and more manageable. A home that gave everyone their own space but felt comfortable to use as a family unit. A home that had nice updates (both mechanical and aesthetic) so we didn’t feel like we had a bunch of chores to do each time we came home to visit family. A home that had potential for some improvements but was fine as it was. A home that was inexpensive to purchase so it didn’t compromise our 2020 family motto of “more adventure, less house”.
We found this adorable, renovated bungalow in a great location. It suited us perfectly. 5 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms. Nicely updated inside and out. A terrific basement renovation. An awesome insulated attic space. It was sound. And we felt excited. Finding this home gave us so much piece of mind and the ability to really move forward.
When I meet with my own clients we talk about these things during consultation. We talk about the pre-approval process and just because you have been pre-approved for that amount, keep in consideration where you want your housing budget to be for your overall monthly budget? What is your “comfort zone” for your mortgage payment? We talk about the MOST important things. Building context is SO important. It helps me weed out the properties that probably won’t suit your needs so we can be laser focussed on only the ones that will serve you best. It gives us the opportunity to talk about what items are “deal breakers” to ensure we are finding the best property for you (no matter why you’re buying).
Understanding the context of the situation allows us to make better decisions throughout the buying process which will ultimately yield the best results for you. It’s daunting to have these conversations and believe me, I know. But if we stay true to our context and are prepared to really dig deep on what really matters in a home, we will be successful in finding you your home.
If you have any question regarding the purchasing process, send us a message and we’ll be happy to help answer them and guide you through that process.