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Finding Your Dream Home

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment: What does your dream home look like?

Perhaps it’s a charming country cottage surrounded by acres of wide-open space. Maybe its just a quick walk from downtown with shopping and eating options, a lake house, or a quaint suburb in good school district.

Many people fantasize about one day turning a key and walking through the doorway of their very own perfect home. That vision may change during the different stages of our lives; but with a little perseverance and some help from a good real estate agent, you can find your dream home.

A dream home can mean different things to different people. A dream home is something within price point but inspired by a wish list. No matter your current life state, there are still some aspects of a dream that you can reasonably obtain during your house hunt. However, you may need to make a few compromises; just don’t compromise on things that are most important to you and your family.

Once you’ve been preapproved for a mortgage and know what you can afford the first thing you need to do is make a list of your want and needs. And yes, there is a difference. You may want a pool, but is it really a need? Once you’ve written your list decide which items are most important and which you might be able to compromise on.

Also, your list and priorities may change as you go through the house hunting process. For example, you may want lake-front, but once you find out the cost of those homes, you may decide to settle for channel front or few blocks away from the lake to get a larger home for a smaller price tag.

Decide on your “most lived in” spaces: where do you spend most of your time in your current home? Are you an aspiring amateur chef? Then you’ll probably care about the kitchen set up a lot more than your friend who orders in most nights. Do you like to cuddle up in front of the TV or take long soaking baths? Then focus on those areas when looking for your dream home. There is a lot more to a home than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You need to look at your lifestyle and find a home that compliments it.

If you have a black thumb, avoid high maintenance gardens unless you have the funds to hire a gardener. If you work from home at least a few days a week, a separate office space may be a priority. Do you enjoy taking walks? Then you may want to look for a neighborhood with sidewalks or walking trails.

When looking for your dream home, stick to your budget and don’t torture yourself by looking at homes outside your price range.  You will also need to decide if you want a reno or a move-in ready home. Buying a home that needs a lot of work is very different from a buying home you can just move into. Only you can decide which type of home best suits you. Just be honest with yourself and your capabilities, if you’ve never laid tiles don’t convince yourself that your can do it yourself without help just because you watched a show on HGTV or a YouTube video!

Make sure to focus on the layout and flow of the house along with square footage and location. These are important aspects of a house that are hard to change. Whereas paint color and flooring can easily be changed. Moving a kitchen to the other end of the house is much harder and more expensive to do!

New furniture and a fresh coat of paint can really transform a space. But pretty finishes and a trendy design don’t make up for a poor layout. Also, make sure to look under the surface. Just because something looks pretty, doesn’t mean it was maintained correctly. Look deeply when viewing a property. Open doors and windows. Look in closets and cupboards. Check under sinks, in crawl spaces and attics. Feel the walls for dampness. And make sure to get a home inspection!

The most important tip to remember is, don’t give up! It may take awhile to find your dream home, but be patient. Your dream home is out there. Even if it takes months, it’s worth it when you finally find something you love.

And if you don’t get the house that you put an offer in on? That’s ok. It just means it wasn’t the right house for you.

Once you find your dream home, make sure to celebrate! Buying your dream home can be a long and sometimes stressful process, but it will be worth it in the end.  A good real estate agent can help make the process easier. Picture yourself in your dream home and call today to start the search.

By Bonnie Marlow, Realtor, Cisco Realty

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