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If you’re starting your home search in Des Moines, it can feel both exciting and overwhelming. A home is one of the largest purchases many people make, and you want to get it right. One of the best ways to reduce the house-hunting stress is to ensure that you’re clear with yourself (and your partner if you’re buying a home together) on some key areas. Here are the most important things to consider to inform your search for the perfect home:
Are you prepared to spend a year or more looking? Or do you want to move in the next few months? Getting clear about your timeline expectations is essential. First, are there any hard dates that you need to work around, such as moving out of your current place or relocating to a different area for a job? These can quickly shape your timeline and make that part of the search process a bit clearer. If you don’t have any external deadlines in place, it’s still important to establish your expectations here. If you know that moving in the very near future is a top priority, you know you might need to have a bit more flexibility in other areas. Or if there’s no real rush, you know that it’s okay if you still haven’t found exactly what you’re looking for.
Of course, all homebuyers need to think about budget. And there are a few things you can do to clear up this part of the process. First, break it down into monthly payments. This is often the most manageable way to truly conceptualize what those listing prices will look like in your day-to-day life. Once you know about how much you can spend per month, you can set your budget from there. It’s also smart for homebuyers to give themselves a range. Perhaps you have a target price, but you might have some wiggle room if you truly find a place you love. The key is to establish this ahead of time. Once you’ve noted the top of your range, you won’t get caught up looking at things you can’t afford or reconsidering your financial planning and taking on more than you should.
Level of Work
Is your dream home move-in-ready, or is it built by you? Again, you don’t want to be tempted into something that isn’t really in your plans, so set some guidelines before you start searching. If you work full time and take care of a family, maybe a real fixer-upper isn’t feasible. But are you open to tackling some smaller projects on the weekends? While you might pay a bit more for something move-in-ready, you’ll also be saving yourself time. It’s important to consider how this will fit into your lifestyle before you start searching.
I’d recommend starting off with a list of everything you’d want in a home and then sorting it from most important to least. Once you’ve prioritized everything you want in a home, draw a line somewhere after the first five or ten things on your list, marking those off as your must-haves. It’s important to differentiate between the things you need and the things you want. What does your dream home look like in reality? What are the most important features?
The key to finding your dream home is preparation. The clearer you get about what you’re looking for, the easier it becomes to narrow down your search. Are you in the process of house hunting? What’s guiding your search? I’d love to hear your thoughts!