House Hunters

By: David Haghighi ~Above & Beyond Real Estate Group

For all couples, house-hunting is a delightful experience.  The thrill of viewing properties and envisioning owning them can be very exciting. Most of that excitement is sparked by the thoughts of raising children, celebrating holidays, renovating, and throwing parties.  For newlyweds, these thoughts are even more prevalent, as they have just been brought-to-surface after months of wedding festivities.

Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t usually last long, and the difficulties of negotiating, financing, and decorating the new home can lead to lots of disagreements. Some couples have a harder time finding middle ground than others. But one thing is for sure; the most successful couples find a way to compromise, which happens to be a great building block for a new marriage. We have developed some tips to ensure success:

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Make a financial plan
Dual incomes are great! But if there is not a cohesive plan to save and invest money, a couple with lots of money can easily live paycheck-to-paycheck, especially in California! Mortgage planning is imperative, and a strong loan officer can advise you on how to free up monthly income by spending a little more money up front. Also, one partner’s credit rating might be less favorable than the other’s. A strong loan officer can also help to level the playing field and reduce any penalty expenses that might lead to a higher interest rate or a more expensive loan. If you are considering purchasing a home within six months, you cannot apply for a mortgage too early. Start right away, mortgage planning is imperative!

Determine which features are more important
Make a list of features that you want in a home, then change the order of them until they are prioritized accordingly. Obviously, the features you both know you want will go at the top. Make sure to include geographic criteria, like which neighborhoods you want to be near. Be realistic, and discuss with your Realtor to confirm which of the chosen features are available to you. Discuss your price range and your desired locations to develop reasonable expectations. That way, when you get out there and start seeing properties, you are not immediately slapped in the face with a harsh reality of expecting more than you can afford. I cannot stress how important reasonable expectations are. They are the core of successful home buying, whether it is your first home or your 50th.

Be as patient as possible
All buyers have time constraints, and some are more urgent than others. Many couples are very good about scoring, ranking, and judging whether or not a property will work for them. Some of them come very close, but still don’t get the warm and fuzzy feeling required to pull the trigger. Remember that every week, new properties come on the market, so if one property doesn’t feel right, there is probably a better one around the corner. If your Realtor is seasoned and professional, he or she will be patient until you have cycled through a fair amount of homes. Every home you view will teach you more about the marketplace and how realistic your desires are. Any Realtor who pushes you to purchase a home that doesn’t feel right, is not the Realtor for you.

Work as a team
Determine a negotiation strategy together. Sit down with your Realtor and discuss what your strong points are. Many people have different ideas for getting their desires met in a home, and a transaction. Some people are more aggressive and eager to move on to other properties when they feel the seller becomes unreasonable; whereas others are more willing to work on the details to come to an agreement. It is very important that you discuss and manage your expectations with your Realtor to determine a successful approach that is agreeable to both partners. Keep in mind, sometimes buying the right property can involve a stressful transaction, due to other parties involved. Try and remember that when you close escrow, you get to keep the home. The sellers and their agent are not included!
I have helped many couples have success finding, negotiating, and feeling great about getting a good deal on their first home together. My experience has led me to much more success than failure, which is encouraging. I have found that couples who communicate effectively tend to have far fewer speed bumps on their road to homeownership. They are the couples who discuss renovation scenarios, improvements, untapped potential and especially their dislikes during home viewings. The couples who discuss less in the moment, often tend to disagree later that evening, and sometimes prevent effective search refinement for their Realtor.

As always, the most important feature to any home search is the Realtor you choose. There are hundreds of hard-working, dedicated professionals in San Diego County. So get online, start reviewing profiles and reviews, set up some interviews, and choose a winner! Good luck and if I can be of service I am here to help you find your new home!

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