Buying a home can be a laborious task, especially when all the little details are considered. If the search is taking forever, or multiple offers fell through, it can be very tempting to compromise on certain wants and needs in order to finally secure a new property. While some items are definitely worth compromising on, other items are not. Below are some important items that buyers should hesitate on when it comes to compromise.
Location. Location. Location. Or at least that's what they say, and they're right. Location is one of the most important aspects of real estate, and you should be very cautious about compromising on this when buying a new home. You can change a home, but you cannot move it (well, most homes you can't move). Location is everything –it determines the school district, amenities, recreation, entertainment, services, the local economy, public transportation, commute times and so much more. It is possible to choose the perfect home in the wrong area, and for many owners, the location of their home can be a major reason they end up selling sooner than expected. Compromise happens when buying real estate, but location shouldn't be.
Square footage might seem like an easy thing to compromise on, but the reality is that very few buyers will have the ability to ADD square footage to their homes. Square footage and anything else pertaining to the actual structure of the house should not be compromised on. A buyer can certainly change the layout of a house, such as removing a wall to achieve an open feel, but buying a home with the intention of adding a bedroom or bathroom is a huge undertaking when one's budget and free time are considered. If you know you'll need a home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, find a home that fits those specific criteria or has an area that can easily be adjusted (such as a den).
With the number of home improvement and flipping shows on U.S. cable television channels, it might seem like buying a fixer upper is a great idea, because all the POTENTIAL! But unless you have a budget that will allow for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of work, have an open schedule to manage the projects or enough time to stay in regular contact with any hired contractors, and have the sanity to wait the weeks or months it may take to remodel the property, the condition of your new home should not be compromised on. You don't have to buy a brand-new property (unless of course you're searching for one!), but if you're looking for a house that is move-in ready, don't buy a property that needs some major TLC.
If there's one major item that will guide a real estate search, it's price. For those buyers that will need a mortgage loan, price cannot be compromised on. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a must, as it allows a buyer to understand how much money s/he has to work with. But just because you've been pre-approved for a loan of $400,000 doesn't mean you should go out and buy a home for that amount. If your needs and wants can be met by a lower priced home, then by all means buy it; but Buying a home for more than you can personally afford not only impacts your overall budget, it also leaves you 'house poor.' Buyers can get caught up in looking for properties and fall in love with a home at the top of their budget – if you compromise and buy above your means, you may have to make sacrifices in other areas to afford the house, and that rarely works out well in the end.
Working with an agent
Buying a home, whether a first-time or experienced homebuyer, is not only exciting, it can be stressful and time consuming, and for many of us who work full-time, searching for a home is not something we can just 'do.' Working with an agent when you're buying a property is one item you should never compromise on. Services and expertise aside, real estate agents know the market, know how to find the properties that will fit your needs and wants, and they know what to expect when it comes to paperwork because it is their job to know. Using an agent is always recommended when buying a home – no compromise needed.