I have found that buying a home is a simple process of elimination. Having observed this process a few hundred times with buyer clients, I have unscientifically concluded that there are three basic factors at work.
Location is the classic “buzz word” that people throw out when they are talking about real estate. It is one of the first questions asked to new clients since it will have a significant impact on what type of home we will be looking for in their price range. For example, if you want to live in McLean and can spend $600k on a detached home then we will be looking at older homes that may need some fixing up.
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Your Price range will be determined using a variety of factors. For most people price range is determined by how much the mortgage lender says they will give you, or how much cash you have on hand to make a down payment (3.5%, 20% or 100%), or as I like to ask, “how much do you really want to spend?” Often clients tell me that the bank will lend them a huge amount, but then confide that they still want to go on vacations and prefer to spend only x-amount per month so that’s where we start.
The Style of an ideal home is unique for each client, and a key part of my job is to help you refine your ideas early on and then help refine that criteria as we see homes. Yes, even if you are a “type A” personality, I am willing to bet that you will continue to refine your criteria. It is an interesting time for couples as they discover each other’s interests and non-negotiables. My couple’s tip: each take a piece of paper and write down what you would like in your new home (5-minutes), then exchange pages and talk.
So keep in mind that the location you want to be in will determine the style and price range of homes currently available. Your price range will determine the style of homes available in your preferred location. And, the style of home available will be influenced by your price range and preferred location.