Some people fall in love with every home they see, while others can pick each one apart — identifying flaws that may be consequential or not. Having spent countless hours working with buyers with a range of budgets and needs, when they find “the one” it’s usually pretty clear to me (then we move onto the harder part of structuring the best offer so it becomes theirs).
While it’s true that you’ll often see a property for 15-30 minutes and then find yourself signing a contract of sale for hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy it, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare yourself to make that swift decision more easily and recognize if you’re ready to take the next step in the homebuying process.
As you prepare to buy your first (or next home), here are a few ways I guide my clients and help them discern what’s best for them and that you can use to help you (or your clients):
Check(list) Yourself: Buying a home is an emotional process and you often have to go with your gut; however, that doesn’t mean throwing reason out the window. I always make sure to place a concise list of needs and wants at the top of showing sheets I prepare for my clients. This way, you can remind yourself that private outdoor space wasn’t a must but storage space was, for example. It’s easy to get distracted by shiny object (that gorgeous soaking tub!), so check yourself.
Compare and Contrast: While you definitely should compare each potential new home to your list of needs, you naturally may find yourself comparing it to other properties you have seen. For this reason, if time allows, it is sometimes helpful to see a few more properties after you think you’ve found the one you want to offer on — most likely confirming how your feel and strengthening your resolve to make it yours.
Picturing Your Future: One of the telltale signs someone is falling for a home is when they start placing their furniture (verbally) in a home and talking about how they would spend their time in the space. If you can envision not just special occasions but daily life in that home and neighborhood, it may be the perfect fit.
What If…: I often ask clients how they would feel if we just found out that the home in question just went under contract with another buyer. If you’d be kicking yourself for not acting faster, the game of “what if,” is a great final check before making your offer.
In the Washington, DC area, the market moves fast and it’s natural to be nervous about making such a big decision so quickly…but by stepping back briefly, holding yourself to a few simple “tests” and, most importantly, leaning on your real estate agent as a trusted advisor will make sure you can act confidently and give yourself the best chance of nabbing “the one” (or the next one)!