First Steps in Buying a Home

When you’ve made the important decision to stop renting and buy your own home, you’ll need a plan to get started on your search. While most real estate agents can advise and guide you through the home buying process, identifying exactly what you want and being clear about what you’ll settle for – and won’t settle for – will help you make the best decision for your long-term home investment.

Many first time home buyers feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the homebuying process simply because there are too many decisions to make. How do you decide on the best location? What if the home isn’t in the best move-in condition? Can you afford to be so far away from work? Making sure you’ve asked yourself the right questions and creating a ‘wishlist’ for your ideal home will make the home buying process much easier, and also help you get over many of the challenges involved in finding that perfect home. Start creating your wishlist with the following essential questions and considerations in mind:

1. What are the essential amenities you’re looking for? Think about fireplaces, swimming pools and kitchen appliances that you want to have in your new home. Prioritize these so you can simply say ‘no’ to a prospective home if it doesn’t meet the basic amenities criteria. Be as specific as possible with this section so you can narrow down the hundreds of options available.

2. Be specific about your location. Author Ilyce Glink of ‘100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask’ explains that location is one of the most important factors when considering different homes. You’ll need to think about where you will be located in relation to schools, places of worship, shopping venues and even your friends and family. Your final location will determine how much you may need to drive each day – and if it’s worth the extra effort.

3. What is the ideal size? Do you need more than three bedrooms? Is your family growing? If you are going to need more space in the near future, you may need to buy a home with more space than you currently use. Project your home needs for at least the next three to five years so you select the right size.

4. Are you willing to invest in renovating or refurbishing the home? If the house is not in move-in condition, how much are you willing to spend on modifications, renovations and other maintenance costs? Setting some guidelines in this area can help you eliminate certain homes from your radar as you search.

5. Will safety and security be an issue for you? If you have small children or are living alone, safety and security may be a top priority. Ask yourself what you will need in order to feel safe in the new neighborhood so you can eliminate homes that don’t meet the criteria.

By asking yourself specific questions about your preferences, goals and dreams, you’ll be able to narrow down the vast field of choices and find the home that truly meets your needs.

Alexandria P. Anderson is a licensed Minnesota Realtor that uses the Minnesota MLS to help her clients to find and purchase Minnesota Homes for Sale.

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