Ah, summertime, and the height of home buying season!  Add to that a red-hot real estate market right now, and you’ve got a lot of people with home-buying on their minds.  But in addition to the excitement, there can be a massive amount of overwhelm.  And no wonder!  There are so many things to consider… and if you are under the pressure of attempting to sell your current home at the same time, it can feel like everything is happening at once.  This can be a formula for regretful decision-making.  What to do?  How about a checklist to the rescue!

Having a guide or checklist can help you keep things in perspective.  Not only is a document helpful and practical, it can also be grounding and calming when working through a potentially stressful transition time.  Home shopping with a partner or family?  Having priorities defined and clearly stated can help everyone feel involved and heard.  This allows you to work together effectively, even while differences of opinion may exist.

Here are 3 important considerations when shopping for a new home. 

  1. Take some time before you go shopping to name the most important characteristics of a new home.  What are the must-haves?  If that’s overwhelming, perhaps consider: what features are not important to you at all?  This still will help you to focus.  If you are working with a partner or multiple family members, include a spot on the list for each person.  Think about your daily routines.  How do you want to feel when you wake up in your new home?  When you come home at the end of the day?  Who will visit you in your new home and how do you want that to feel?  Brainstorm in any way that’s helpful to you, then use the checklist to organize your thoughts.
  2. Location, location, location.  In addition to the home itself, what is important about the area?  How close do you want to be to your neighbors?  Who will maintain the property?  Think long-term, as well immediate use.  Will you need to be close to an airport, schools, hospitals?  Will there be special needs to consider at some point?
    1. If you are considering a move to a different state or part of the country, take time to research the fiscal conditions of the state and cities on your list.  You may also want to search for information about health and safety scores for your new area.  If a real estate professional is helping you, they may be able to supply this information.  Otherwise, internet searches can help.
  3. Financial realities.  What’s the average price of a home in your desired area with your desired features?  Realistically, how much money can you spend on your new home purchase?  And don’t stop at purchase price.  It’s worth the time to collect financial information for each property you are considering.  Some of the information is public record (i.e., taxes and utility bills); some comes from the current homeowner; and some comes from your thinking about how you would live in and use the home.  Do the research not only on purchase price, closing costs, mortgage, and insurance, but also on ongoing expenses like taxes, utility bills, and maintenance.  (There’s a spot on the checklist to help organize this information.)  If renovations or updates are in the picture, be sure to include those costs, as well.

Finally… Home buying can be stressful and tiring, so take breaks when you can.  Even short breaks can help you to stay rested and refresh your mindset.  Recognize that priorities may change as you move through your search for the right home.  That’s OK.  Life changes when you change where you live, so give yourself and others room to change and shift, as well.  Your most important asset in this process may be a flexible attitude.  Taking a well-timed deep breath can go a long way to reduce the stress and bring back the excitement.  Happy shopping!