Making a Wish List and Using it Wisely
Depending on how you use it, a “wish list” can either be an advantage or a disadvantage when shopping for a new home. If you use it wisely, a wish list can narrow your search, so you don’t waste time looking at houses you don’t like. This saves you time and stress. However, if your wish list is too long or overly specific, you risk missing the opportunity to view homes that might otherwise be ideal.
So how do you use a wish list wisely?
That’s easy. Simply use your wish list as a guide to point you in the right direction. But build in flexibility so you don’t miss out on homes that are a close fit. Here are some ideas for your new home wish list:
- In which part of town do you want to live? - List your favorite neighborhoods. Sometimes it’s easier to write down where you don’t want to live.
- What price range will you consider? - Be realistic here. You might hope for a maximum of $200,000, but be willing to pay an extra $10,000 if the ideal home presents itself.
- What amenities do you want nearby? - Think about the needs and hobbies of everyone in the family. These may include health clubs, jogging trails, parks, public transit, daycare centers.
- What about schools? - If you have kids, this is an important question. Distance, quality of education, reputation, and programs will all be important considerations for you.
- What type of house do you prefer? - How large? How many bedrooms? Size of backyard? A two-car garage? Big kitchen?
- How much renovation are you willing to do? - Will you consider a house that has a lot of potential, but needs extra work? Or do you want one that is in move-in condition?
Of course, there are many other items you may want to put on your wish list. Just be sure to make them realistic and flexible.
Should You Try to “Time” the Market?
If you’re thinking of buying a new home, you might be tempted to wait until “the market is just right.” That might work for professional real estate investors who are willing to take those kinds of risks. But if you’re looking for your next dream home, trying to time the market is usually not a good idea.
Because no one can predict the real estate cycle with any degree of accuracy. Interest rates go up and down, as do housing prices — often a lot less predictably than experts care to admit to. If you attempt to wait until just the right moment, that moment may never arrive. And, you’ll miss out on some great opportunities. When is the best time to look for a new home? When you’re ready to buy one.
Don’t wait. Start your search today.