The inventory of homes on the market remains tight in much of the country. But, according to Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, “The days of inventory being down 20% or 25%, those days are over.” The good news is that it may be easier to find a home in 2022, but the reality remains that it’s still a seller’s market. With demand still exceeding supply, buyers think they must do whatever it takes to get the home they want. It’s easy to get swept up in the moment and purchase a home you love right now that won’t meet your needs in the long run. That’s why it’s important to stick to these six non-negotiables of home shopping.
1. Stick to your budget. Period.
Once you’ve considered the cost of your lifestyle, taxes, HOA dues, etc. and have decided on a figure you can afford, don’t budge. Paying more than you can afford for a home now could cause financial issues down the line. Missing payments and bills, and possibly damaging your credit, could be avoided by simply sticking to the budget you know is right for you.
2. Love your location.
Say you’re considering two homes. One is in a reasonably good area and the other is in the heart of a fantastic neighborhood. How do you choose? The answer is in the neighborhood. Homes can be repainted, remodeled and upgraded – but they can’t be picked up and moved.
3. Decide: Turnkey or fixer upper?
Do you dream of transforming a charming, yet very old home into a quaint country cottage designed to your exact specifications? That sounds amazing – just make sure you’re prepared for all that entails. Before making a final decision, consult an experienced contractor for a time-and-cost estimate. Think about the financial implications, the possibility of living in a construction zone for a while and whether your partner or family will really be on board. If you’re unsure of any of these variables, you may be happiest with a turnkey home where you can move right in.
4. Don't skip the inspection
When you tour a home and fall in love, it’s easy to start envisioning your future there. No matter how picture-perfect things seem on the surface, do not agree to a sale without an inspection. The inspection process could uncover health and safety issues that could impact your well-being and property value. These are the types of issues that need to be uncovered at the very beginning, so you can make an informed, clear-headed decision about what to do next.
5. Consider the school district
Whether you see children in your future or not, purchasing a home in a highly rated school district can contribute to a higher resale value. There’s rarely a shortage of families looking for neighborhoods with good schools, which makes those areas very desirable locations. If you find yourself deciding between two houses, choosing the one zoned in the best school district can bode well if you decide to sell.
6. Don't skimp on the floor plan
If you need four bedrooms, two baths and 2,000 square feet, don’t settle for three bedrooms and a bonus room. Features like an outstanding backyard or huge living room are nice, but they won’t make up for the lack of space you require day in and day out.
Home buying is an emotional experience. It’s one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. But if you start your journey knowing when to compromise and when to walk, the power to choose the home that’s right for you, your family and your future remains in your hands.
PNC is a registered service mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”). All loans are provided by PNC Bank, National Association, a subsidiary of PNC, and are subject to credit approval and property appraisal.
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