So you’re ready to buy a new home, but your budget isn’t through the roof. Well, we’ve got great news: even with a conservative budget, you can find a home that’s perfect for you.
The trick? Balance. Buyers on a budget have to go in knowing what they want while keeping an open mind about what’s most important and how they can get the most for their money. Read on for four ways you can buy on a budget without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
- Knowing the ins and outs of your own financial situation before you officially start looking for a home is key to finding homes you can afford and avoiding sticker-shock heartbreak.
- Making a list of your “wants” and prioritizing them by importance is a good way to help narrow down your options as you look for a new home.
- Finding the right real estate agent is essential to a good home-buying experience. The right agent will be honest with you throughout the process and go the extra mile to help you find a home you love.
- No one knows which home is right for your family better than you do — once you have the big stuff figured out, go with your gut when you make a final decision.
Be an Expert on Your Own Financial Situation
Knowing the details about your financial situation puts you in control of your own destiny and saves you from potential homebuyer heartbreak.
One of the biggest mistakes buyers can make is looking for homes before they know what they can afford. Instead, assess your finances first — know your credit score, create a detailed monthly budget, and figure out how much you’ll be able to put into a down payment. It’s also important to account for expenses unrelated to your home and mortgage. Do you have other recurring expenses like student loan debt, car payments, or commuter costs? If so, record those too, and be sure to leave wiggle room for spending money as well.
Once you can see your full financial picture, you can look for houses that fit your budget (and you’ll be none the wiser about those that don’t).
Prioritize Your “Wants” List
It’s rare that a home is going to check every single box on your list. To get the most out of your home buying experience, take your list of “wants” and put them in order of importance (aka the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves”).
Maybe you’d love a pool but could live without it for the right house, but an extra bedroom for a home office is non-negotiable. Whatever your must-haves are, know them before you start so you can rule out homes that don’t meet the criteria.
There are a number of ways you can determine what’s most important on your wants list. A Realtor.com survey found that people are using different methods like talking to trusted family and friends or real estate agents, thinking about features in their current homes, considering their budget, and looking at homes online.
Finishing touches can be alluring when you’re looking for a new home, but they shouldn’t be a deal-breaker — especially when you’re on a budget. Consider your list of must-haves, and if a home has them all but needs some cosmetic upgrades, be open to doing them yourself rather than looking for a turnkey property that might not fit all of your needs.
There are easy ways you can give your house a facelift once you move in, and sometimes taking on home-improvement projects yourself makes a new home feel more like your own.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Working with an agent who is willing to put in the extra time and effort to find a home you love is perhaps the most important factor in your buying experience. The right real estate agent will be honest with you about what’s realistic for your budget, but they’ll also go the extra mile to find options that fit your individual wants and needs.
Referrals are a great way to find agents who will provide you with a good experience; if someone you know and trust enjoyed working with an agent, odds are you will too. If you don’t have a personal recommendation, that’s okay too. Talk to multiple agents and let them know what you’re looking for. It usually only takes a conversation or two for you to know an agent is a good fit for you.
Have an Open Mind
It’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re buying a new home. After all, you’ve probably spent a long time dreaming about the perfect place to make your own, and by now you know exactly what you want. Maybe it’s a certain neighborhood, or a particular style, or the size of your outdoor space.
It’s good to know what you’re looking for, and everybody has must-haves. But real estate agents can be exceptionally good at getting to know their clients and finding homes they’ll love, even if it differs in some ways from what they expect.
Sometimes, keeping an open mind about the location, style, or other factors can get you more for your money or help you find a great house that has traits you love and never knew you wanted.
Trust Your Gut
Even when you take all of the right steps to prepare, buying a home is an emotional process that requires trust in your own intuition. Once you’ve got the big stuff figured out — finances, must-haves, and the right agent — it’s time to go with your gut when it comes to taking the leap. After all, no one knows better than you what home looks like for your family.
Ready to find your dream home in the Dayton area? Contact Oberer Homes to get started.
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