If you are an active home buyer or starting the process soon, it’s important to know what to do when your search is taking longer than you had hoped. While it can be frustrating when you don’t find what you’re looking for, you always have options! Sometimes, you may need to look at properties not included in your original criteria or explore other financing options. Review our five top suggestions below on how you might be able to tweak your home search criteria.
Moving up your price range, especially by changing your financing approach, may open up more and better possibilities. Talk to your lender to see if there are different loan programs that might allow you to increase your budget. Or, decide if there are other areas of your life where you can cut back to allow a larger monthly payment. If you’re a first time buyer, don’t forget to consider your ability to make tax deductions for interest and taxes.
Style of Home
Detached, townhouse, condominium, or co-op? Staying in the geographic area or price range, but considering another type of home may give access to workable properties which still meet your needs. Sometimes, condos feel very much like townhomes and they can be priced much lower. Similarly, if you have been looking only at condos and coops, think about a townhouse or detached house where you won’t have a monthly condo fee. You might be able to increase your budget going this route.
Size, Square Footage & Extras
Perhaps you can live without the extra bedroom, garage or basement, if everything else works for you. Let us know when you are willing to consider homes which don’t have everything you want. We always recommend having a “must have” list and a “nice to have” list.
If you aren’t finding what you want in the location that you prefer, it might exist somewhere else. Often the tradeoff is a secondary location for more home, or less home in the perfect location. Keep your options open and ask us where your criteria might be best met. We will work to find you what you want, where you want it to be, and for the price you want to pay! That said, be sure to let your agent know when you are ready to make adjustments to your search criteria.
Sometimes, it is worth looking for properties that need some work. Fixer uppers can often get you into the neighborhood you want with the right size house. Even if it takes you a year or two to afford all of the repairs it will need (as long as you can still live in the house as it is now), it might be worth it in the long run. Also, if you are willing to do some repairs yourself, you can save lots of money! Properties in need of work are a great option because many people overlook homes that are not move-in ready. They can be some of the best financial investments in the long term.
The Bottom Line
Hang in there! You should constantly be looking out for new listings that are coming on the market and reviewing and fine-tuning your criteria. Don’t give up. There is no way to know what the future holds – whether there will be more listings or fewer or whether interest rates will rise or fall. Unless you are unsure of your intention of remaining in the DC area or are concerned about the status of your employment, your interests will generally be best served by purchasing something sooner rather than later.
If you’d like to talk to us about the buying process and your options, please reach out. We are always happy to chat, even if you’re not quite ready to make a move.
For more helpful articles and real estate tips, sign up for our weekly blog round up below.