From buying your first home to your last, it is easy to get so caught up in finding your 'dream home' that you lose sight of your reality.
Here are five important things to keep in mind when searching for your new home...
1. Know what you can afford
Be realistic about what price is affordable for you. Budget funds for other things you like to do as well so you don't feel house poor. Whether you like to travel, eat out, attend music or sporting events, enjoy collecting or a hobby... whatever you love to do, make a realistic budget that includes those things as well as your everyday housing and living expenses.
2. Find the location that is right for you
Do you need/want to be close to work, trails, public transportation, schools, family, parks, coffee shops, shopping, recreation, etc? Everyone has different needs and priorities. Be sure to keep yours in mind before you fall in love with a kitchen and buy in a location that you will come to regret.
3. Identify your non-negotiables
Most buyers find they must cross off some 'wants' to get their 'must-haves'. Identify your non-negotiable items, then don't even look at properties that don't include them.
4. Look for features that support your lifestyle
Both location and home amenities will have features that support your lifestyle. Think not only about your current lifestyle, but also if there are any changes you would like to make with your new home. Consider how you will actually live in the space and location. For instance, if you like to cook and entertain, the kitchen and entertaining space may be more important than a master suite... if you plan to bike to work you may sacrifice other amenities to be close to a bike trail.
5. See the potential
Don't get distracted by decor that doesn't match your taste. Things like paint colors and flooring can be changed fairly easily while basic structure and location cannot. If the floor plan and location fit you and your lifestyle, it may have the potential to become your dream home with a little redecorating.