What You Should and Shouldn’t Compromise On When Buying a Home
When it comes to home buying, it’s fair to say that for most people compromise is going to be a big factor in the decision-making process. We stopped by Twin Cities Live to discuss the best areas to compromise on, and the others to stick to your gut on.
DO NOT COMPROMISE
This is probably the most important and the biggest regret we see buyers make when they do compromise on it. You can change a lot of things about a house but you can’t change its location. Whether it’s wanting to be in specific city for amenities and walkability or being within a certain distance to work, its important to stay within a location you are comfortable with. We have seen many clients who went against their original thoughts for location to get a bigger house, only to regret it later on.
Another thing to consider is what type of location fits your lifestyle best? If you don’t like the sound of traffic and spend a lot of time outside, don’t purchase a house that backs up to a busy road. If you have kids or are thinking about having kids and school district is important, make sure you purchase within the school district boundaries you want to be in.
Overall Size and Amounts of Bedrooms/Bathrooms
You know how many bedrooms and bathrooms will make your life comfortable for your family. In addition, make sure you are planning for the future if you have one child and plan on having another child. Don’t buy a 2-bedroom and assume you can “make it work” later. Plan for your life as it will be and buy a 3-bedroom, and compromise on something cosmetic that can be easily updated with time. If you know you need a master bath and won’t be happy with a home that shares a bathroom with kids or guests, make sure you only look at homes with master baths. Or, we can help you identify homes that you could add a master bath later.
We saw a lot of issues with this in the last market downturn. When the market was up buyers purchased a house that was on the small side. Then their family grew and they realized their house was too small. The market had dropped and they were unable to sell because they hadn’t been there long enough to get equity in it. We want to help you avoid this mistake.
You want to make sure a house has good bones and was built well, especially when purchasing an older home.
You find a house in the right location with the right layout- but cosmetically it isn’t up to what you want. Many elements of a home can be updated; you’d be amazed at how much new light fixtures can make a difference. Bigger updates in the kitchen and bathroom can also happen, just plan to save and make those updates as you live in the home. As we said above, moving to the wrong location will only cause you to have to move again- and we’d rather see that money wasted on two moves go to gradually getting to the home of your dreams. We have lots of clients who purchase homes where they like the layout and flow, but know that in the future they will want to update the kitchen or bathrooms. Another advantage to doing this is this allows you to pick out the exact materials and finishes you want and really make it feel like your home.
Have a plan for future updates and estimate of what these might cost even if you aren’t planning on doing anything till a few years down the road. Will you need to put $15,000 or $20,000 away to update the kitchen? If so, make a plan and work towards that goal.
Floor Plan (sometimes)
Sometimes you can compromise on an open floor plan. If you want that open kitchen/family room area but just can’t find it in your price range, you may be able to find a home with a floor plan that is conducive to opening it up when you remodel. Think Property Brothers. The important thing is to have vision and be open to purchasing a home that may need some remodeling. Make sure you work with a realtor that can help you recognize when you can and can’t do this.
Throughout the buying process it’s important s to have a good understanding of what your must haves are, and a realistic outlook on the things you can compromise on.