When putting your list together, focus on what is changeable and what is not. Location, neighborhood, square footage, and layout are important considerations that can’t be easily changed, but you may be able to finish a basement or update flooring down the road.
Listen to the Experts’ Advice
While your REALTOR® and lender can’t and won’t make decisions for you, they will point out things you may not have considered.
“I just had clients who asked to see a house that was only a few thousand under their max budget,” said Jackson. “However, in the property disclosure I noticed that the seller was keeping all the appliances. So, not only was the house near the top of their range, leaving them little room to compete, but they would also have to factor in the cost of brand-new appliances.”
And when it comes to budget, Jackson said a lot of buyers are reevaluating location.
“For instance, property taxes are much higher in certain municipalities, so I’ll talk to my buyers about where they can get more for their money,” she said. “With so many people working from home, today’s buyers have greater flexibility in location, which can really help when budget is a concern.”
And nothing feels more like a splash of cold water on your face than seeing what your monthly mortgage payment would be if you went over budget. When you find a house you love, check back in with your lender and do the math. Then ask yourself, how does that number feel? Does it make you nervous or are you comfortable with that amount?
“At the end of the day, it’s the client’s decision, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask questions and point out all the considerations,” said Clark. “I want my clients to be successful in homeownership, and the best way I can help them accomplish that is by educating them on their mortgage so they can make a confident and informed decision.”