It is time to make a list; a real one, with pen and paper. Why not use your favorite electronic device? Because buying a home is not just another event in the course of your weekly activities. Using pen and paper to document details and progress pertaining to your home search gives your endeavor special decorum.
Take the time to look for a special notebook, one with a cover you find inspiring and with pockets inside for loose notes and snapshots. While you’re at it, buy a special pen too. If you have children, this is a good way to involve them in the process. Let them select the notebook and writing implement. They will love playing along as your personal assistants.
Ready? What is it that truly motivates you in a home? Your first list is titled, “No Matter What”. Here, you will list everything you absolutely need in your new home. It can be anything, from essential energy efficiency features to a wrap-around porch; from a kitchen that faces east to a two-car garage. Do not forget to take into consideration the surroundings also. Do you need trees, proximity to certain services or privacy? You can work on this over time. Even when you feel at a loss for details, you’ll soon realize that the next item that comes to mind creates a domino effect, leading you to clarify more essential features.
Your next list is titled “Can Do Without”. For instance, if you are looking at older homes with older windows, are you willing and able to live with the current windows for now and replace them later (Can Do Without) or are new windows a must (No Matter What)? If the aforementioned wrap-around porch is not a necessity, but certainly something you can add later, then this would fit on the “Can Do Without” list as well. Allow several blank pages in between lists so you have room to keep your vision organized as it grows.
Most Real Estate professionals agree that viewing more than three homes in one day is too much. You need time to savor each home, process and discuss your reactions, likes and dislikes. This is where the above lists come in handy. They provide a great tool for a reality check and a reminder that your motivation does not have to interfere with your commitment to your vision and well-being. Your motivation is the impetus for doing it right; not for haste.
In the back of your notebook, allow room for one more section. Here, you will list your impressions of each home you visit. You could title this section, “This House Feels Like…” with the address of each home as a header to the impressions you jot down. Using the word “Feels” in your title can remind you to draw from your immediate observations. You might even begin each short sentence with the words “It felt like…” to help you zero in on what worked and what did not. Soon you will see a pattern emerge. Positive traits and areas of concern will stand out so that you can weigh them against each other and against your priorities. You can even rate each home with smiley or frowning faces.
Make sure you share this information with your Real Estate Agent. Remember, your lists will evolve over time, as will your vision. Each discussion and each home you visit will help you refine your vision. The lists help you establish initial criteria against which you can balance you impressions. Your notebook is your tool for daily reality checks. More than this, it can add levity and creativity to your home buying experience.
This concludes the How Motivated Are You article series.
Also read our post titled “Cut It Out” for more ideas to help you clarify your vision of your new home.
Click HERE for Part 1 of this article
Click HERE for Part 2 of this article