Some house-hunters are lucky enough to have found their dream home in the perfect fashion—falling in love with the first home they see, getting an offer accepted and moving in without a hitch. However, many home buyers, especially in this current market, have stories on the other end of the spectrum—filled with year-long house hunts and offer after offer with no luck finding that perfect home.
If you’ve been in the market for a home for what seems like forever, here are some strategies for getting things back on track.
• Be realistic. Be aware that today’s market is a very slow-moving one. It’s completely normal in some areas for buyers to view dozens of homes over as many months, and have several offers rejected before getting a contract on a home. Talk with your agent about how long local buyers normally have to scour today’s market before finding their new home and go in with an open mind.
• Identify where your process is breaking down. In order to correct your wayward house hunt, you first have to figure out what the problem actually is. If you’re looking at various homes but not finding anything that suits you, your expectations might be too high. Now, this is your future home we’re talking about and your most important financial purchase, so obviously high expectations are important, but they also need to match your budget and that of your co-borrower’s expectations. If you have expectations for a mansion but can only afford a townhouse, or your expectations conflict with that of your spouse, no home will ever be able to satisfy both of your needs.
If you’re finding places you like, but your offers are consistently being shot down, you might need to work on bringing your home picks into alignment with your budget by increasing your price range, decreasing your wish list, or looking at a lower price range and making higher, more competitive offers.
• Don’t view every home out there. It’s easy – but unproductive – to get upset about “the one that got away;” counter that frustration by reminding yourself that you are house hunting in a market flooded with a great amount of homes. On the other end of the spectrum, if you do find a home that really works for you in your price range, get over the idea that you have to see everything in town before you make an offer, because you could be missing out on a great home right in front of you. No single home will ever satisfy every single one of your preferences, so don’t hold out waiting for one that will. Chances are you’ll be waiting awhile.
• Rethink your deal-breakers. The greater the number of absolute deal-breakers you’ve communicated to your agent, the fewer prospective homes you’ll see. The more flexible you can be about which listings you’ll look at, the higher the chances you’ll find something you like and be able to work with it. Also, drive around and find homes for sale or visit Open Houses that you think are similar to your ideal home – then investigate their list prices, or send the addresses of suitable homes that aren’t for sale to your agent to find out what that house would go for today.
These strategies are especially useful for reality-checking the expectations you have as a home buyer set on relocating. Throughout the process, make sure you are being realistic about your hunt, and don’t let your home buying efforts get derailed on something small that you can see past or work around.
How have you stayed focused while looking for a new home?