As I work on home projects for various clients, I’m always fascinated by the different thought processes couples and individuals have in the process of buying a new house. I am amazed at both what I hear and don’t hear (but SHOULD) regarding must-haves and deal-breakers. Individual preferences and priorities run the gamut, and that’s perfectly fine.

As a home designer, there are some tips and tricks I’ve realized over the years that can help save time, money and headaches when considering a new home purchase.

Get Your Mind off Minutia

Buying a new home is a really big deal. There’s so much to consider with such an extended commitment. There are so many little details to think about. But then again, there are some other small details that you really shouldn’t worry about when looking for your new home.

My first tip is to look past things that are easy to change. For example, let’s say you’re not fond of the handles on drawers, doorknobs and cabinets. Or, you may not like the color of the front door or the chandelier and light fixtures. These things shouldn’t disqualify a home for purchase (and you’d be surprised how much I hear them). A few cans of paint, a trip to Home Depot, or a few clicks on Amazon can easily change those elements.

What you can’t change is the layout of the kitchen or the overall floor plan. Changing those may cost you more than you’ve budgeted. My point is simple: consider the things you can’t change, not the things you can, when you’re looking for the home of your dreams. Try to let the little things disappear. If the home checks off your priority needs but could use small finishes, I highly recommend you keep that home as a consideration. Minor touches can be fixed later, but the layout of the home and maybe that gorgeous backyard might not be so easily modified.

It’s an “All-Around” Investment

Buying a new house should not be an impulsive purchase, yet, many treat it as such. Your home is a really serious investment, and much careful thought needs to go into acquiring the perfect home. In fact, you should think about more than just the home itself.

There are some questions I think to-be homeowners should ponder. Where are you in life right now? How will your lifestyle change in the next 10 years or so? Do you have the family you want, or will it grow? These questions will help determine what your home needs are, both now and for the future. If you’re looking to grow your family, that may determine the number of rooms you should consider. The location of the home to shopping or schools may be important. If you need more than one car, you’ll need to consider the parking options around your home. If the home is in an underdeveloped or newly developed neighborhood, you may want to think about what those changes could possibly mean.

Again, these are details that may be extremely difficult to change. And if they can be modified, such as adding on rooms to a home, they will be very costly. That said, buying a new home is investing in your present and future, the dwelling and its surroundings, the internal amenities and external options.

Be Choosey, but Be Wise

There is a lot to consider as you begin the process of buying a new house. These are just a few of them. I firmly believe that everyone should get exactly what they want in a home. If your potential new dream home comes with linoleum flooring but you’re more of a hardwood person, check your budget before committing. That’s a change much easier to accommodate than hoping your backyard or square footage will magically double. Triple check your list of must-haves with a fine-tooth comb and work to see past everything else. With careful thought and planning, buying a new home will truly be making your dream a reality.

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