Establish clear goals to get the home that is right for you

by Debra Hamilton.

When my first time homeowner clients and I start to shop for Seattle homes for sale.  We start with a buyer consultation.  We want to zero in on what it is they are hoping for in a home, what they would like in a home, and finally what they must have in a home.  Not just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms but how they want to live in their home.

Do they like yard work or not?  Do they want to be responsible for all of the maintenance of the outside of the home - roof, gutters, paint, etc.?  Do they want to make improvements and upgrades to the home or do they want a "move in ready - I don't have to do anything for at least 3-5 years" home?  Sometimes people will think they want to make improvements but once we start shopping for homes in need of some "elbow grease..." reality may sink in about the amount of work needed or living in a home under construction.  Other times, that is exactly what they are looking for in a home.

We talk about the pros and cons of all  those issues to start figuring out what type of home is going to be desirable - condo, townhouse, or stand alone single family home.  A home with a large yard, small yard, or patio/deck.  We need to shop for the home that is going to fit their needs and lifestyle.

We want to shop in the price range that is comfortable for them.  One of the first steps is talking with a lender to find out how much home they can comfortably afford.  We don't want to have payment shock - the difference of their mortgage payment vs. how much they are paying for rent.  If their mortgage payment is going to be $400 more a month than their rent, I will ask if they have $400 extra every month now.  If not, maybe we need to reevaluate our price range or maybe their tax benefit will allow for the bump in payment.  If we need to make an adjustment we do and if not, we continue on the path.
Debra Hamilton helps Seattle real estate clients find homes for sale in Seattle and surrounding communities.