Choosing a home starts even before visiting your first community. Taking the time to define your new home goals, dreams, and even concerns, enables you to shop smarter and focus on the things that you and your family really want.
To begin, have everyone in the family describe what they like – and don’t like – about your current home. Are the bedrooms too small? Are you short a bathroom? On the other hand, maybe you love your backyard and really enjoy all the natural light in your kitchen. Use these ideas to start defining your new home wants.
Next, create a realistic budget. Factor in school expenses, commuting costs, and budget for fun as well as emergencies. Determine how much you could put down, and whether you need to sell your current home before looking for a new one. Remember to factor in building time for a new home. You may be able to select your new home and have several months to sell your current home while waiting for the new one to be completed.
Think about where you want to live. Look at work commuting time, school systems, and how close you want to be to family and friends. Look also at amenities in or near each community. Is a playground important? Can you run to the grocery store easily? Remember when you’re balancing your wants against your budget; some areas are less expensive than others. You may have to trade space for location, or vice versa.
Finally, explore your options. Visit various communities and take a look at models and open houses. Then go back and determine how many of your wants can be satisfied with your budget. Take the time to prioritize those features you really need compared to those that would be nice to have. If you take the time to make your plan before you start seriously looking, you create a better chance of finding a home you love.