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How to Make Finding the Right Home Easier

I can remember reluctantly getting up at 6 am every Saturday, when my mom would wake me to go food shopping. Although the early schedule felt like punishment as a kid, I eventually realized that avoiding the New York City crowds reduced our shopping time and increased the chances of finding a fully stocked store. When my mom combined this off-peak shopping schedule with her list of foods and her budget, it always resulted in her getting what she wanted and at the right price. I do not remember seeing her full planning process, but I do recall that she would go through the Sunday paper flyers to become familiar with weekly deals. I imagine that it was at this time that she carefully crafted the master plan to stay within budget and fill the house with the ingredients needed to make the delicious meals that I still dream of today. Outside of the wonderful memories of good food, this childhood experience taught me that shopping with a clear plan, a budget and during key times was a proven strategy for getting the right product while saving time and money.


Like my childhood food shopping experience, one may describe the ideal home search as finding the right product, at the right price, with as little time investment as possible. However, statistics show that for the majority, this is not the case. Buyers spend an average of 8 weeks searching for a home and more than 56% believe that finding the right property was the most difficult step in the homebuying process.[1] Even with spending 2 months on the search, 7 in 10 buyers still compromised their home selection mainly in the areas of price, condition, size and style. It is amazing that these difficulties can still exist in an age where companies like Zillow and Redfin have spent millions to develop tools that are designed to make the process easier. So, what could be the root cause of this common problem? Could improper planning and allotting too much time to the process be part of the problem?

 

Confident Home Buyer Tool Kit Tips:

  • Shopping with a clear plan, a budget and during key times is a proven strategy for getting the right product while saving time and money

  • A good REALTOR® will have the proper tools and strategies to help you find the home that meets your needs. However, when you do a good job of defining the essentials of your future home, you will find that it will be easier to find the home of your choice.

  • Make your home search easier by utilizing the Home Search Framework below to identify the important factors you will consider for your new home.

  • If you are just starting out, be sure to use Confident Home Buyer Toolkit for your planning, as it will help you set timeframes (Step 1) for the whole process, and set the financial plan (Steps 3, 4, 5) that will guide you to homeownership.

  • If you are already using the Toolkit, then be sure to adjust each step accordingly if the following outline shifts your initial thoughts.

 

In the book, The 4-Hour Workweek, the author tells the story of how he used Parkinson’s Law as a part of his journey to work less and enjoy life more. The law states that the perceived importance and difficulty of a task rises in relation to the time allotted for its achievement. In other words, if someone was given only 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressures would force them to plan accordingly so that their focus was only on the essential steps needed for project completion. I experienced this phenomenon first-hand with the last two personal homes I purchased. Each time I started a new job, it required moving to a new state, so I had to find a new place to live. In one instance, I had one week to not only search for a home, but to also get acclimated to my new job and work environment. Preparation beforehand was key to getting the house I wanted at the right price in that given timeframe. By laying out my criteria and researching the area beforehand, I quickly realized I would have to search further away from my new job in order to get the right house within my budget. The combination of the time crunch and the pre-planning, helped me reach my desired goal. Being financially prepared was already a part of my daily living and this also had a significant impact on my ability to execute within this timeframe.

A good REALTOR® will have the proper tools and strategies to help you find the home that meets your needs. However, when you do a good job of defining the essentials of your future home, you will find that it will be easier to find the home of your choice.

Make your home search easier by utilizing the Home Search Framework below to identify the important factors you will consider for your new home. Your REALTOR® will help you refine your research, to local standards, which will help you make the best decision. If you are just starting out, be sure to use Confident Home Buyer Toolkit for your planning, as it will help you set timeframes (Step 1) for the whole process, and set the financial plan (Steps 3, 4, 5) that will guide you to homeownership. If you are already using the Toolkit, then be sure to adjust each step accordingly if the following outline shifts your initial thoughts.

Home Search Framework


1. What is the date or timeframe that you would like to be in your home and why? Consider the following in your planning, realizing that there will always be exceptions:

a. There are more buyers in the market during the summer months

b. The high demand in the summer months leads to higher prices

2. What is the max budget that allows you to purchase your future home and still be in a good position financially? Consider the following statistics in your planning, realizing that there will always be exceptions:


a. New Construction Pricing: Range of 20–40% higher than existing construction[2]

b. Almost 9 in 10 homes purchased are previously owned[1]

c. Average age of homes in the U.S. is ~ 40 years old[3]

d. Average amount for home renovations is $7,560[4]

i. Be aware that some renovation loans combine financing a house and the

improvements at the same time

3. Following Parkinson’s Law, if you had less than a week to find a home, what would be the most important characteristics of the home that are non-negotiable?


a. Use the Essentials of My Future Home Form below to rate the characteristics on

a 1‒5 scale in the areas of importance, costs, and difficulty of obtaining

i. Importance low=1, cost high=1, difficulty high=1in the areas of importance,

costs, and difficulty of obtaining

Essentials of My Future Home Form- Final
.
Download • 118KB

4. Now take some time to determine the locations that will best meet your needs and record them on the Essentials of My Future Home Form. See below for a few resources.


a. Researching homes: Utilize sites such as Zillow.com or Redfin.com

b. Researching commute: Utilize sites, such as Google Maps, to understand distance to your job and closeness to entertainment, shopping areas, schools

c. Researching housing appreciation rates, schools, crime and demographics: Utilize sites such as Neighborhoodscout.com


 

Denise Johnson, MBA, REALTOR®, is often referred to as a "Data Nerd" by family and friends and has a gift for seeing the important facts of a situation. She aims to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together into a complete picture, making it easier for herself or anyone she counsels to make sound and rapid decisions.


After 10+ years of working for multiple Fortune 500 and 1000 companies across Logistics, Finance and Marketing, Denise made the leap into the Real Estate Industry hoping to help others achieve their homeownership desires. She can remember purchasing her first home at the age of 23, and it being both a time of joy and stress because she didn't fully understand the process and the implications of owning a home. Since then, she has owned and sold multiple personal properties, including selling an investment home that turned from a Rehab to a New Construction project in 2020. She has a desire to share all that she has learned and continues to learn with future customers to tip the scales towards a joyous homeownership and home-selling experience.

When she is not busy finding solutions in business, she loves large get-togethers with friends and family, international travel adventures with her hubby, and growing her passion for gardening and cooking healthy recipes.

 

[1]Copyright ©2022 “2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report.” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. March,2022, Link to Study

[2] Redfin Seasonally Adjusted New Construction Reports January 2012- April 2020 Link to Data Center

[3] American Housing Survey Table Creator. 2019 Data. Link to Data

[4] HomeAdvisor 2018 State of Home Spending Link to Report


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