7 Things You Don’t Actually Need to Worry About During Your House Hunt
Buying a home is stressful even in the best buyer’s market conditions. But when homes are flying off the shelf at a record pace, with bidding wars and crowded open houses to boot, it becomes downright overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few elements of homebuying stress you can cross off your list. Here are a few *low-priority* things you don’t actually need to worry about, from landscaping to pricing.
Specifics aside, above all else, try to surround yourself with seriously thoughtful and experienced experts who have your best interests in mind. You can’t be aware of everything at all times, so the second-best option is aligning with a strong team, first and foremost consisting of a knowledgeable Realtor, lender, and home inspector. Your Realtor will then rely on a strong attorney, title company, lender and appraiser.
Trying to Time the Market Perfectly
When you’re searching for a home to live in, you should absolutely spend some time researching (or talking to your lender or real estate agent about) broader real estate trends in your area — but you shouldn’t live and die by trying to time the market just right. Instead, let your own personal finances and readiness determine when, where, and how you buy a place.Real estate is a long-term investment and a roof over your head. Buy when your time is right, not by the market’s timing.
Making a Profit Later
Too often, buyers who are consumed with trying to figure out how much money they’ll make when they eventually sell their new home in the future. And while it’s definitely important to consider resale value when buying a house, it can be counterproductive to focus solely on your home’s potential for making you money. When you worry about the investment value of a home, you sometimes buy a home you don’t love or in an area you can barely afford. It’s OK to consider how a home might sell in five or 10 years, but don’t obsess about how much profit you will make.
The List Price
Though it’s wise to set a budget and stick to it during your house hunt, remember that everything is negotiable, especially the list price. Within a reasonable range, buyers can sometimes disregard the listing price. They are not the same as contract prices. A good agent can help negotiate and might be more of a reflection of the seller’s ambition rather than what the market will bear. Not that a buyer should be looking at a home over their budget, but they should be open to searching outside of their desired range.
Bad (or Non-Existent) Landscaping
If huge shrubs are crowding the front door or overgrown trees are dangling precariously over the roof, resist the urge to turn and run. Bad landscaping is just a distraction that you can easily fix once you move in. And if there’s no landscaping? That’s also a quick fix.
How Long It’s Been on the Market
When the housing market starts to cool off, homes might stay on the market longer than they have been in recent years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with them. Perhaps the home was listed too high, and the sellers were not ready to sell or accept a lower offer. Or maybe the seller is concerned that listing at the right price will bring in even lower offers. If you like a home, make an offer.
Though it can be challenging, try to look past a seller’s clutter, bad paint colors, dirty windows, dated appliances, and other cosmetic issues that might draw your attention when looking at a house. Instead, take a more zoomed-out approach to the house and the property as a whole. How does the home make you feel? Does the floor plan make sense? Do you like the view? It’s easy to get caught up and expect perfection, but it’s rare to find a home that you don’t want to change, just a little bit, even if you’re happy to move in as is.
What the Neighbors Say
There’s an age-old bit of real estate advice that recommends prospective buyers talk to nearby residents to get more context about the neighborhood and the home itself. And while this intel can certainly be helpful, it’s also important to take it with a grain of salt and do your own research. A neighbor’s feedback can be helpful and offer an objective insider view, but you never know if their emotionally charged feedback is because of something personal.
All in all, while buying a home can be a stressful undertaking, there are still some elements of the homebuying process that don’t need to weigh on you. Stick to the important criteria in your decision making and let these other concerns fall to the very bottom of your list!