How to Find the Right Home
What is the “right” home?
But the word “right” is relative, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you say that what you would consider to be “right” in a home is vastly different than what Cookie from Empire would consider “right”, or what your co-worker, Barry in accounting, would consider “right”? So for the purposes of this blog, we will just use the word “right” as if you are the only person in the world. Our hope is that when you finish this simple mental process, you will understand how these factors affect your life and be prepared for the next step of the home buying process.
Find that house. But first, know thyself.
With the purchase of real estate, particularly a home, comes some emotional and environmental realities that contribute your life experience.
Let me explain it this way:
Curtis and Monique are considering buying a house in a brand new community on the East side that’s all the rave. It’s a 4 bedroom, 3 and a half bath situation with hardwood floors and a finished basement. And at that price, its all that Curtis, a newly graduated attorney, could have ever wanted. Meanwhile, Monique, a sales rep for a tech company in Grandview, was worried about her morning drive, not having a large master bathroom, and being too far away from her 3 sisters. Besides, she “haaaaates” cookie cutter new builds.
So is it fair to say that going inside yourself, getting real and clarifying your priorities are the best first steps to buying a house?
Let’s Get Real.
...real about what we want and need that is. Pretend you have one of those fancy cameras. Let’s zoom out real wide with a look at your life and goals and slowly zoom in to get a close up of the house that fits your wider view. Oh, and if you have a sheet of paper and a pen, you can jot some notes.
Depending on your career, relationships, educational needs and lifestyle, all neighborhoods aren’t built to be the same. Think about your career. Your job or business makes possible almost everything related to your lifestyle. For most of us, it takes up a large portion our time. The commute to and from work is also something to consider.
How far of a commute are you comfortable with?
Are there people that you are responsible for that require you to be able to get to them from work efficiently?
Do you work from home, in which case amenity over location is more important?
Think about your relationships. Your family, your friends, social relationships, and your involvements, are all apart of this equation. For some, a Saturday afternoon includes volunteering at a homeless shelter, their sons’ soccer tournaments, a weekly hair appointment, dinner at a seafood restaurant, and a movie with the family. Still others are content on the couch in their sweats, an Ohio State jersey, a greasy pizza and a remote.
Do you find that your life’s social involvements tend to take place on one side of town than more than others?
Are you caring for family members?
Do you prefer living where the action is or in a more secluded environment?
Think about your educational needs. Maybe you are a graduate student at Ohio Dominican University and intend to stay in the city for a while longer. Maybe you have three small daughters and are planning for how their young minds will be developed. You could have a son on a football track to land a scholarship, which makes a competitive school the goal. Depending on the intensity of the studies or the extra-curricular activities, you may find that you tend to gravitate towards a certain area of town.
Do you have children or are you planning a family? Is there a particular educational path that is best executed in a particular school or district?
Is your child devoted to any significant extra-curricular education activities on particular side of the city?
Are you yourself in a particular educational program that requires you to be on a certain side of town frequently?
Think about your lifestyle. I bet you are the chic, artsy type that loves the energy near campus. No, wait! You love the coziness of Gahanna. Hmmmm... actually, you seem more like a... well, only you can define it I guess. Certain parts of Central Ohio host amazing seasonal festivals that bring communities together. Other parts are hoity-toity and wouldn’t dare be caught hosting anything of the sort, but have amazing early 20th century tudors. Still others can boast the local Walmart as its big “see and be seen” event, where barbecue and beer can be smelled in every direction.
What kind of things do you enjoy doing or would like to get more involved in?
Are you more of an adventure seeker, a remote clicker, a do-gooder, party hopper or a baby bottom wiper?
What side of town do your preferred or required activities tend to take place?
Comfort and Amenity
Now, take your imaginary camera and zoom into your vision of a home. Let's discuss some of the things about the house itself that are necessary to you and your family. There are a few factors that need to be considered. Things such as number of people in the household, style, health, bells and whistles and lifestyle, are all very important to most people because these things contribute to whether or not people feel comfortable in their spaces.
Think about the number of people in your home. You might be single, newly married or a family with 6 kids! Maybe there are just two of you now, but expect to grow a family pretty soon.
How many people will be living with you?
How many bedrooms do you think you and yours need to be comfortable?
Do you anticipate more or less people living with you in the near future?
Think about the style of house. For some, smaller spaces are cozier. Others like a nice open floor plan for family congregation and entertainment. Still others are into lots of windows and natural light, in a modern design. But then someone else may prefer an older house with charm, and lots of wood paneling. It really is up to you.
What kinds of layouts tend to make you feel happier?
Is there a certain amount of light or colors or textures in a design that you prefer?
What about the age of a home and the style considerations that come along with an older house?
Are you a new ager or more retro in your tastes?
Think about your family’s health. Though the goal is to remain as healthy and well as you possibly can, for as long as you can. The truth is, illness is something most families will face. In some cases, someone in the home may require continuous care and the home has to be able to accommodate.
Do you need a home that has enough space and flow for health equipment and personal transport systems like, wheelchairs?
Is anyone in your family mentally or physically challenged and require certain accommodations for mobility, the tendency for emergencies, and developmental challenges?
Does your home need to be child friendly and safe to prevent accidents for tiny ones that tend to have lots of energy?
Think about the bells and whistles. These days, there are so many types of amenities that provide comfort and convenience. Some people are concerned with making sure that the house is tech capable, and can all be controlled with a phone app. Others are more concerned with comfort and relaxation. Maybe others care about the aesthetics and are in it for style only. What’s important to you?
Are there tools within a home that you find will make your life more convenient including technology, design layout, navigation, and entertainment?
Do you believe a home is a haven for relaxation? What areas of the home would you like to have those sorts of features available to you?
Is style the most important consideration for you?
Think about lifestyle. The way that you choose and/ or enjoy living your life requires deep consideration as it relates to the purchase of a home. From the people that you interact with, to your career, to your children’s activities, you need to know the kind of house that will support such a lifestyle.
Are you big into entertaining and require a certain type of kitchen, living area or outdoor space?
Do you need a lot of storage space to house the tools of your many activities such as sports, gardening, books, and work/ creative projects?
Are you a homebody that just wants available everything you need in an organized manner?
How much time will you spend at home? What’s important to you when you are home? What's important in a home when you are away?
The Next Step
Knowing your own personal needs in a home is a great first step to narrowing down the priorities for your purchase. However, the next step is obviously to find the right professional who understands the Columbus and Central Ohio real estate market. Theresa Cray has been a super star realtor for over 2 decades and has worked in just about every community in the city. Not only does she understand the programs available for first time home buyers and the great new build communities around town, she also has a streamlined process for getting you from hopeful buyer to qualified homeowner. She has solid relationships with lending institutions, insurance agents, contractors, landscapers, new build communities, and unique funding organizations. No need to go this process alone, or without the best kind of agent to have, one with diligence and commitment.
If you would like to speak with Theresa more about the process of buying the “right” home for you, fill out the form below. She will get back to you as soon as possible for an easy going conversation about your desires for homeownership. She will also offer a plan of action to get you from A to Z. We’ll also shoot you the link to our facebook page where Theresa is launching her “Ask Theresa” livestream every Wednesday at noon, and our monthly newsletter packed with awesome real estate tips and resources.