Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Speak to an agent???
So you're a first time home buyer that has absolutely no idea where to start? In the beginning of your home search process, it may seem like there is no direction or set path. But in this post, we'll go over what the very first thing to do before you start your home search is, what it means, and why it's best to do it first.
The absolute first thing to do before starting your home search, is sitting down and asking yourself, "What is my BIG WHY?". Your BIG WHY could be to get closer to the city, to get more space because you're thinking about starting a family soon, or maybe you are just tired of your rent money going down the drain. It may sound obvious but I've worked with many buyers that haven't consciously evaluated why they are buying a home and these clients almost always end up taking the longest to find a place they love.
The BIG WHY is the foundation of your home search and a buyer without one is like a ship without a northern star (if we were living in the 1700's). Throughout the home search process, there are going to be a landslide of homes sent to you buy your agent and it is so easy to get distracted by homes that don't fit your wants and needs. These distractions can pull you off the road to finding the right home for weeks. It helps so much to be able to fall back on your BIG WHY to help you stay focused on the homes that actually fit what you're looking for.
Just to be clear, some of the initial criteria you set may change throughout your home search and that's perfectly fine. It is actually quite common for buyers' criteria to evolve throughout the search as sometimes what is available on the market at your given price range may differ from what your expectations were. For example, your BIG WHY is that you want to be closer to the city, near good bars and restaurants so you can still maintain a healthy social life with your friends. But, 2 months into your search, you see some larger homes outside of the perimeter and you start to think, it would be nice to have a yard. All of the sudden, you are going down a rabbit hole of looking at detached homes in the burbs, far from your original reasoning of buying a home. At the end of the, you don't want to change your BIG WHY to fit the home, it should really be the other way around.
Another reason the BIG WHY is so important is that realistically real estate agents and buyers only have so much bandwidth to see a certain number of homes each week, so it's very important to be able to maximize the amount of serious homes you tour with your agent. Without your BIG WHY established, you run the risk of looking for months on end with no direction. The problem with there is that when you finally narrow down your search, many of the best homes might already be gone or you might move into the slower season of the real estate market.
The reason why you should tackle this step first is because recognizing why you are buying a home, could affect other major factors and decision-making in your search. Different BIG WHYs could change the price range you are looking in or maybe the real estate agent you want to work with doesn't work in the area that fits your BIG WHY. All the other early steps of the process, which I will address in a different post/video, are very important too, but the BIG WHY should definitely come first.
Also, don't forget that if you have a partner, make sure you do this step together. You might fight that your big why and his/her BIG WHY might not be the same or align as perfectly as you thought. It is so important to get on the same page before you start touring homes.
Figure out the true reason you want to buy a home and be honest with yourself. It will not only save you a bunch of time, but it might also save you from missing out on that dream home!
Juniper Real Estate Team