More of Libby’s secrets to buying your first home
House hunting can be exciting and fun, but you need to have a strategy in place. That’s why the tips below can give you an added edge. It covers 2 things you should never do, and 2 things you should do. It’s that simple.
DON’T take advice from everyone in your life
When it comes to making one of the biggest purchases of your life, everybody in your life should NOT cast their vote or give their opinion. My in-laws were so freaked out when they saw photos of the home we intended to purchase for our first house that they sent “don’t do it!” emissaries: my brother- and sister-in-law… flown into California from Kentucky. Nope, I’m not kidding.
At one level: how sweet is that? They love us and they wanted to ensure we didn’t do anything silly with such a big move early in our financial life.
However, they lived on the other side of the country where prices were a fraction of our local market. They simply could not imagine we were not being swindled. So, while our extended family is a fantastic support and they have incredible insight to many issues, they didn’t know our market so their opinions didn’t hold up (plus, we bought the house anyway).
Put your blinders on and “you do YOU.” Limit any feedback you receive to people whose informed opinions you think will contribute a positive impact on your decision. Positive does not mean pushing you into buying: it means knowing the market, your goals, and your options well enough to be a valuable sounding board.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to buying a home. Your financial situation, criteria, and long- and short-term goals might be completely different than someone offering you advice.
Say thanks but no thanks to friends and family who want to offer their opinion but you know will provide no real benefit to your decision-making.
You are the one who will need to make the final decision, but it doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with a few trusted friends or family members who can offer constructive feedback (may I also suggest you limit your time with those who will confuse you and complicate your house hunting?)
DON’T take in too much at once
House hunting is waaaay different than shopping for anything else in life. For one, there are only a certain number of homes (generally about 6) that you should see during one outing.
Not only will seeing more than six homes completely stress and wear you out, seeing too much in one day means that it’s that much harder to narrow down your criteria enough to narrow your preferences! You don’t want to overdo it on any day or it all becomes muddled and too confusing.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, go back to the drawing board and focus on your goals, criteria, and budget. Unless we are doing a “let’s just look” visit before we get serious, don’t waste time looking at homes in areas you’d never live in — that can add to the confusion and make this process much harder.
DO get some evidence and reminders on each home
Even if you limit the number of homes you see in one day, you’re still going to get confused and mix things up. Even those of you with photographic memories who tend to remember everything forget which house had XYZ! Yep: even I get confused between homes, and I do this for a living!
That’s why I recommend taking photos of each home with your phone and make notes on paper or an app that can help you recall what you liked and didn’t like about a particular home.
You don’t have to get a shot of every angle, but a good front and back picture, with a few detailed photos of the interior can help you remember features, amenities, and floor plans that will influence your decision.
Write down specific and descriptive notes about each home and its surrounding factors, like schools, shopping, metro access, nearby parks and other amenities. Do this when you’re inside the home or immediately afterward so you don’t leave something off.
Both the photos and the notes will come in handy when you’re comparing your options later.
DO take a second look
When it comes to making one of the biggest purchases of your life, you should re-visit your tour! Just as the weather here can change dramatically in a day, when you’re buying your first home in Colorado go visit a second time before you make an offer. You’ll be amazed at what you missed or glossed over the first time around.
Depending on the current market and how fast things are moving, I like to go back to a home if you’re interested in making an offer.
It’s hard to take everything in at once, so when you have a good feeling (or doubts) about a certain property, don’t hesitate to schedule a revisit to validate any feelings you may have.
Take these four little-known house hunting tips to heart and you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else out there! As always, contact me if you have questions now.
I'm Libby Earthman. I specialize in helping first-time buyers and sellers on Colorado’s northern Front Range. I want you to know HOW to make well-reasoned real estate decisions, and I assertively protect your interests during the transaction.
825 Delaware Ave, Suite 208
Longmont, CO 80501