Your Oklahoma Realtor
Ready to find your happy place?
If you're ready to find your happy place, give me a call I can help!
There's nothing like getting the keys to your new home.
Find your happy place can be intimidating in a hot market like the one we have right now. You may be tempted to stay uncommitted to a real estate agent in hopes that using the listing agent on your favorite house will save you money. Unfortunately, this is a misconception and could end up costing you. Having a buyer's agent advocate for you in the home buying process can be invaluable and far outweighs the costs associated with it.
It sounds promising, but this thought process could end up costing the buyers much more than it could save them. ~Marjorie Youngren, Boston Globe Correspondent
If you're ready to find your happy place but don't know where to start, here are some things to consider. You can always give me a call and we can talk through them as well.
1. "Good Bones"
Have you heard the term "Good Bones"? It refers to a home that has great potential but is in need of some remodeling or upgrades. A home with good bones features quality, well-made construction but doesn't have the ammenities sought after by home buyers.
Why would a home buyer consider a house with good bones? If the house has the right location, lot, size, or price and the home buyer is willing to put in the work to remodel it, it could be their happy place. In general, cosmetic upgrades are easy and affordable to make. An experienced agent will be able to help you identify what's cosmetic and what's a bigger committment.
2. Look for the right price
Price will ultimately mandate what you can buy. While looking at homes above your price range can be fun and provide you with a sense of the market, it also can set you up for disappointment. Falling in love with a home outside your price range can be devasting. To help ensure this doesn't happen, start by:
- Getting pre-approved by a lender. (Don't have a lender? I'd love to refer you to a top-notch lender that will help guide you through the financial side of the buying process)
- Use a mortgage calculator to get an idea of what you can afford.
- Don't open any new lines of credit if you're serious about starting the search for your happy place.
Consulting a mortgage lender is really the first step in finding the right price range for you. In a market like today's, you'll need to be pre-approved before sellers will take you seriously.
3. Location, location, location
Location is one of the most important things to consider when finding your happy place. But many buyers report that it's difficult or extremely difficult to find a home in their desired location.
If you can’t find or afford a home in your ideal neighborhood, work with me to determine what is most important to you so you can find a location that best suits your lifestyle, needs and budget.
Here are a few things to consider:
Proximity to downtown
Homes closer to core downtown areas have better resale value, thanks to their shorter commutes. Buyers should expect to pay more per square foot for a home within a 15-minute rush-hour drive to the downtown core. That may be why buyers who compromise to stay within their budget add to their commute time.
If you want the ability to walk to local restaurants and shops, see if you’ll be close enough by walking or biking the distance to town. Explore the area, check out nearby parks and nearby attractions to decide if this is the community you'd like to be in.
School district quality
Parents looking for their happy place want to do everything they can to ensure the best possible educational situation for their children. Choosing a home that feeds into schools that support their kids in all the right ways is part of that process. Visit the local schools to evaluate the education programs. You can also research online and join parent groups on social media to help you determine if it's the right fit for your family. Just remember, not everything online is a good representation of real-life.
Don't have children? You might someday, so it doesn't hurt to evaluate the school district your new happy place is in. It could also factor in to marketing your house if you want to sell it in the future.
Flood zone status
Homes located in high-risk flood zones require special insurance coverage beyond the typical homeowners policy. Buying a home in a flood-prone area also means you need to be prepared if a flood actually happens.
What's the drainage like at the home? Oklahoma is known for its downpours, will the water drain away from your house? Will you have standing water on your property?
Home orientation on property
Imagine what the daily experience of living in this home might feel like. Does it get enough sunlight — or too much? Are you a comfortable distance from the neighbors? Consider the distance and difficulty of traveling from the driveway to the front door and whether seasonal changes will turn features like a steep driveway into a hazard. Which direction does your driveway face? Will the sun help melt the ice and snow in the winter time?
4. Determine your must-haves, and stick to them
There’s a big difference between "wants" and "needs" when it comes to finding your happy place. It might help to create a list for each! For instance, a shorter commute may be a must-have, but a luxurious master suite might be a nice-to-have.
- Shorter commute
- Specific number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Designated parking
- Updated kitchen
- Upstairs laundry
- Smart home features
You may be the lucky buyer who finds a home that checks all the boxes, but chances are you’ll have to make some compromises. If you do, make sure you’ve got your needs covered. It's time to communicate with your family as well. Their wants and needs may be different. This is where the compromising begins.
Finding your happy place can be an intimidating endeavor, but I'm here to help you through the process. There's nothing like waking up in a home that you love and knowing that you own it. When you're ready to start your search give me a call and we'll get started.