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Finding the Perfect Home Is Easier Than You Think: 12 Point Checklist

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*This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust Mortgage. All opinions are my own.

Most would agree that buying a home is the biggest financial purchase you will ever make in your entire lifetime. It is arguably the purchase that will also affect your life the most.

The good news is, there are people who can help you every step of the way beginning with forming ideas about what your ideal home will have to finding the right way to finance owning your own home. Seek the wisdom of those you trust to help you, and know that finding the right lender who truly gets to know you can make all the difference. Finding the right mortgage is a matter of choosing the right vehicle now that will also be a good fit to your life in the future.

Theoretically, a home is also a purchase that you don’t make all that often, which means that you want to be sure that you’re buying the right home for you before you sign on the dotted line. But, how do you know what home is the “perfect” home for you?

Follow this 12 point checklist to replace the stress home-buyers so often feel with the peace of mind you will feel when you’ve found the perfect home for you.

buying a home

1. Consider your budget first and foremost

Be sure you consider what kind of home you can afford. This often differs from the kind of home you may qualify to be financed for. It doesn’t come down to how much house you could afford but how much house you can afford.

2. Consider where you’ll be

When making a list of what to look for in a home, consider where you will be in the next five or ten years. In most cases, you will be in your home for a while. For this reason, don’t only think about what you need in a home today. Also, think about what you will need in a home in the future.

3. Determine what is important to you

What is important to you in a home? Are you more about all the pretty things and having the latest features? Or, are you more about space and functionality in a home. Of course, you can have some of both, but identifying what is primarily important to you will point you in the right direction as you get started.

With a family of 10, I am all about the functionality of a home. I do enjoy having a few of the pretty details, but when I’ve purchased my two homes it has been much more about making every square foot work for us and getting the most house for the money. The pretty things have always been secondary to functionality.

But, is it this way for you? You get to decide!

4. Describe your ideals

Make a list of what you’d love in a home. Of course, you will want to realize that this is your wish list. This is what you would have if you can choose everything about your home.

My list was long, but as I worked through these 12 steps, knowing what I ideally wanted allowed me to determine what I was willing to pay for in the end – and what I wasn’t.

5. Decide on some non-negotiables

Now that you’ve got your list of ideals, what are some things that you absolutely must have? Resist the urge to list everything as a non-negotiable. The reality is, nearly everyone will have to give on some things. Write these things down to keep on hand as you move through this exciting journey.

I went into the home buying process knowing that I wanted all of our bedrooms to be on the same floor, for instance, and the kitchen was the room I cared about the most. I was not willing to budge on having a large kitchen because I have so many people to feed.

6. Also, list some negotiables

Now, you should be able to easily come up with some things that you are willing to give on if needed. These are the things you’re willing to do without, these are the kinds of things you’re willing to let go, and these are the things you’ve decided you can compromise on for a variety of reasons.

In my case, I was willing to give on having real wood floors, real granite countertops, and a glorious master suite. Although these things would have been nice, we chose to put our money into more square footage.

7. Approach the entire process with an open mind

Be aware that things will most likely not go exactly as you would choose them to go. Approaching the home buying process with an open mind allows you to find what could be the hidden gem you never knew you wanted in a home. If you don’t have this open mind, you could very well miss what could be the perfect house.

In all honesty, this is something everyone must do. I know I did. The entire process will be much more enjoyable if you have this open mind from the beginning, which is not what I did the first time around.

8. As you search, look through the lens of possibilities not necessarily what is

This one is huge. It is so easy to turn away from a home on first glance when it doesn’t meet your expectations. When we were looking for our first home, I ended up coming back to a home that I crossed off right away.

In time, the things I didn’t like about the home didn’t seem so big after all. It took a while, but in time I was able to see this home for what it could be with some work and some tlc.

9. Take in the whole picture

Don’t just look at the home. Look at the neighborhood. Look at the entire property. Look at the schools, the community, and so much more. Sometimes it could be worth it to sacrifice on the home a bit to end up in the community you love.

Buying a home can be and often is a give and take. We discovered this with the home we live in now. The property is not at all what we would choose, but we are in a wonderful neighborhood. This was a major compromise for us, and it was one that has paid off.

10. Get an outsider’s perspective from someone you trust

With huge decisions like buying a home, it can become difficult to navigate making a decision. This is especially true if the process drags on and on. An outsider you trust can oftentimes be more discerning in things you might be overlooking or in things you’re not looking at realistically.

When buying our first home, my husband and I were so close to signing on the dotted line until we had our friend who is a builder give the home a look. Because we trusted his opinion and expertise, I am positive that he saved us from making a huge mistake.

In that instance, we weren’t based in reality when it came to purchasing a home with a mold problem. We wrongly assumed it was just a little thing to look past, however, in this case, it was a much larger deal than we could have ever imagined on our own.

11. Buy with confidence

If you have done your homework as I’ve suggested here, you should be able to buy with confidence. Buying a home is a major decision and in most cases, a major investment as well. The extra time and effort you put forth in buying the right home will be well worth it.

12. Enjoy the process

This is a great reminder. Buying a home can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. When you are making the best purchase based on all the work you’ve put in, you really can enjoy the process. And, you want to. After all, buying a home is exciting. It’s something that doesn’t happen that many times in your life so enjoy it while you’re there.

Seriously. Enjoy it.

Buying a home is a big event in life, but having a checklist of things to take into consideration and follow makes the entire process so much easier. SunTrust Mortgage has made the process of buying a home even easier by offering a step-by-step game plan to be able to find the perfect home for you. Check out their guide HERE.

At SunTrust Mortgage, we make it a priority to learn all about your unique circumstances. Confidence starts with a conversation.

Talk with a SunTrust Mortgage expert today.


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  1. Making a list of items that are negotiable sounds like something my husband and I could benefit. We both have different ideas about what the perfect home is like. I imagine that doing this would not only benefit us but also the real estate agent we might hire.

    1. Yes! This is what I think is the most valuable of the 12 tips. Husbands and wives do often differ when looking for houses. What is it about that? But, making this sort of list gives you a great list of things you and the real estate agent can come back to in the midst of looking at and comparing a bunch of homes. Good luck!

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