Maps help travelers because it makes the unfamiliar manageable. You can go to a city you've only seen on TV, and with the help of a map and a few friendly strangers you can get anywhere you want to go.
Similarly, creating a "map" or outline of what makes you (and your partner) content/fulfilled/satisfied/happy in a home, living space or neighborhood will ensure that you buy the home you really want.
I think people often underestimate the importance of feeling good in your home. When you have a comfortable, functional base of operation your whole life is uplifted and supported. What is fantastic is that the perfect home is different for different people.
You don't want the same vacation as everyone you know, do you? Some people like camping in the mountains while others want to be pampered. Some people want to be stimulated by new, exciting experiences while others simply want to relax and let go.
Your perfect home is as unique for you as your perfect vacation. For example, some people need bright, airy spaces while others need dark bedrooms for good sleep. Some people like to entertain and need a gourmet kitchen while others want to walk to restaurants and shops. Parents have different priorities than young professionals or retirees.
What makes you happy in a home?
I realize that we all work within price restrictions. Believe me, it always looks greener in the next price bracket. What I've found working with buyers is that people who can afford $200,000 dream of places listed for $300,000, but people who can afford $300,000 dream of places listed for $400,000 and people who can afford 3 million dream of houses for 5 million and so on. We always want more than we have, the trick is to get what we want for what we can afford.
I help buyers find their perfect place by sitting down before we start looking. At this point they will already have spoken with a mortgage broker and understand their buying power.
What is important in this first conversation is to speak to each adult individually and to get them to really see, hear, feel and share what is essential to them in their home.
Magic questions include: What is most important to you about [location, condition, layout, yard, size, your new home]. What have you loved most about other places you've lived? What do you want in this home that you've never had before now? What would make your life easier in the [location, condition, size, your new home]?
It's nice to spend some time brainstorming to allow the buyers to really process their best and desired home experiences. Then, it's time to narrow the list to the TOP 3. Each adult gets their TOP 3, the 3 things they must have in their new home.
Once you've got this short list of what's important you've got your map you're ready to look at homes for sale in your price range.
You can refine your list over time. Maps evolve and are redrawn over time as the landscape changes. Seeing a few available properties may spark new ideas or refinements. As long as the list is maximum of 3 musts and 2 nice-to-haves it will be a powerful shopping tool.
Sometimes people walk into a home and romanticize it. Perhaps a feature reminds you of a home you loved, or maybe the home has a breathtaking view and you see it and you want it; the Top 3 list allows you stay clear, focused and get what you want. If it doesn't have 1,2, and 3 -- move on.
Right now there are more buyers than houses for sale, so you have to edge out other buyers to win your property. A buyer with a Top 3 map can act faster and more aggressively than other buyers because they recognize a match when they find one.
Buying a Home? Start by mapping out your Top 3 must haves so you get the home you really want.