Beginning the search for the right home.
One of the first things that you need to decide is what you think is really important in a home and what are the absolutely limiting factors. This is likely a relatively short list and involves the maximum amount you can pay for a home, the amount of money for a down payment and things like minimum number of bedrooms, proximity to work or other location specifics (lakefront, a school district) or perhaps a minimum number of bathrooms or home office needs.
Next make a list of things that are important and “would be nice” but are not limiting factors for you. Along with that list, think a bit outside the box about the compromises that you are willing to make in order to get some of those items. For example, you may ideally want to have 5 bedrooms, but you may need to buy a home with 3 bedrooms and an attic or basement which could be turned into additional bedrooms to make the house affordable to you. For example, a list might look like:
Would be nice Willing to make compromises
5 bedrooms 3 and a large attic or basement
2000 sq ft 1500 and options for remodeling basement
Move in ready cosmetic updating (paint and carpeting)
Finally make your dream list. This should be a relatively small list, as in most cases, these items will not be likely to be found in the home that you end up purchasing.
There are a couple of important reasons to make the lists. First of all, it can help you to see that the list of REALLY IMPORTANT features is quite small! Stay open minded as you begin to look and remember that EVERY HOME (even if it is a home which you have custom built) will have some features that you do not like as soon as you get them done! Focus on the positives and think creatively about how you can change some of the negatives that you may initially see in a home. For example, a new home that we just purchased had many fewer kitchen cupboards than our old home. After some creative thinking we realized that we could add a large freestanding cupboard to the kitchen (a piece of furniture which we actually already had in our basement, but which needed a coat of paint) and we realized that shelves in the basement could hold many of the large appliances and dishes that I used only infrequently. The kitchen is serving us very well now and at first it seemed like a large negative.
A VERY IMPORANT SEARCH TOOL for you is the Veenstra Team! It is VERY important to share your thoughts with The Veenstra Team. Your goal is to allow The Veenstra Team to get a good picture of what you are looking for. The better The Veenstra Team knows what you are looking for, the better the chances of him/her helping you find the right home. The Veenstra Team is in and out of hundreds of homes and if you share information with the Veenstra Team, they may be able to help you find a home that is just what you are looking for –even if it is not what you “think” you are looking for! Here is a story about our home purchase just one year after David was in real estate….
It is a really good idea to schedule a free home buyer consultation with the Veenstra Team. This can sometimes even be done by the phone if that works best for you. Once you share your needs and wants, the Veenstra Team will do some initial research of the homes on the market. They will send you a list of homes that meet your list of needs and wants. We suggest that you spend some time looking at the homes on line, and then perhaps take an afternoon and drive past the homes. You will begin to get a feel for what is available in your price range. You may find some homes that you want to view inside. Just call the Veenstra Team with that list and we will schedule some visits. Don’t be too judgmental if The Veenstra Team wants to show you a home that s/he has determined matches most of your criterion but doesn’t fit your first picture of what you are looking for.
ANOTHER GREAT SEARCH TOOL is “New listings delivered to your email” – One of the neat features that we have incorporated into our new website is the ability for you to sign up to have new home listings that match your needs and wants list delivered to your email. This is a really helpful tool because you will not have to worry that you are missing out. You will receive notification of homes that match your criterion AT THE SAME TIME as any REALTOR®. That is powerful! Feel free to add more than one email address to this list if that is helpful to you.
You should also feel free to set up more than one set of criterion if you want to keep wish lists separate. Remember that you should not limit the search TOO much — stick to a price range limitation, a number of bedrooms limitation if that is important, and a bath limitation if that is important.
When you get notifications of homes that look good, give the Veenstra team a call and they will set up a private preview of the home. The Veenstra Team will also be able to do additional market research to see how the home compares with others on the market once you find a home that really piques your interest.
ANOTHER GREAT SEARCH TOOL are the searches that we have prepared on our website. Typically, a school district is an important criterion for families or individuals searching for a home. We know that and have created a home search for each of the school districts in area. When you go to our school search page, you will be able to do a quick search anytime you want. We have also conveniently put information about each school district and a link to their school website on the search page.
You will also notice that we have created a Lake Home Search which automatically narrows the search to Lake Homes and we have included a search for Lots and Land. If you are looking to build a home, the lots and land search will be really helpful. We have great connections with home builders in the Greater Kalamazoo area, so we can represent you with a home builder as well. You will be able to take advantage of the negotiating expertise of the Veenstra Team. This is a another great search “tool” for your toolbox!