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11 Steps to Buying the Home That's Right for You – Step 4: Fine Tune Your Needs & Wants

magnifying-glass-small.jpgSo if you’re following my steps, you are now pre-approved, and know exactly how much home you can afford in San Francisco.
Now would be a good time to pull out your wish list from Step 1 of Buying the Home That’s Right for You. And take out your loan pre-approval…. now go to your REALTOR®’s office and put together a realistic list of goals that match both your price range, and your preferences.
You’ll find that now that you have both of these critical pieces of information, your REALTOR® will be able to take a look at your homeownership goals, and see how they match up with your price point.
Of course, the first place to start is with what you don’t want!

  • I don’t want to live on a busy street.
  • I don’t want a 100 year old home that needs maintenance.
  • I don’t want to live in a place that I can’t rent out if I need to.

These are all excellent places to start. Your dislikes will help narrow down your search to the list of places that you can see yourself living in. Then you can start adding your list of needs.

  • I need to be near public transportation.
  • I need outdoor space for my dog.
  • I need 2 bedrooms.

Now let’s focus on your “like to haves”.

  • I’d like to have a washer/dryer in the unit.
  • I’d like to have a view.
  • I’d like to have a home located in Noe Valley.

You might find that your budget allows you to avoid your “don’t wants”, to get most of your “needs” and one or two of your “like to haves.”
But I can guarantee you that unless you’re shopping in the $100,000,000 plus price range, it’s unlikely that you are going to fiind everything you want in a home. You are not searching for the “perfect” home. Nothing in this world is perfect. Take your significant other for example: no matter how much you love your mate, he/she does things that annoy you… they leave the toilet seat up, or down… or they throw socks on the floor, or they drive you crazy writing blog posts at 2 in the morning when you want to be sleeping. (Sorry honey! I promise I’m going to sleep soon!)
I mean, life isn’t perfect, and your home doesn’t have to be either. But just because it isn’t the “perfect” home for you, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right home for you. If you like Noe Valley, there’s a good chance you’d like Inner Sunset, Haight Ashbury, Bernal Heights or Glen Park. If you like views of the water, Russian Hill isn’t the only neighborhood that has them… in fact, you can save yourself a few million dollars on a multi-million dollar view with a home in Mission Bay (assuming you’re not hung up on a Victorian).
The key, now that you’re pre-approved, and really ready to buy a property, is to start shopping for places that are realistic for you to purchase, and have a good portion of what you are looking for. Most people need a little guidance doing this, and this is just a tiny part of what your REALTOR® will help you with.
And now that you’ve set realistic goals with the help of your REALTOR®, it’s time to start exploring what’s out there (of course, also with the help of your REALTOR®). Stay tuned for Step 5 to Buying the Home That’s Right for You – Do Your Homework!