Yesterday we began our discussion of the 5 “P’s” of buying a home, and today we’ll move on to the 2nd P: Property. By “property” we normally mean the house and land that you’re looking for, but the same principles apply if you’re looking for a condominium or cooperative. Start by describing on paper what you’re looking for, at least for now. An easy way to do this is to take an 8 ½” x 11” piece of blank paper, set it up horizontally (portrait view), and divide it into thirds with two vertical lines.
Now label the 3 areas on your paper something like, “Must Have”, “Would Be Nice” and“do NOT Want”. Next, in the first column write down each key thing that you’re looking for, giving each one about an inch of space. Your list might be something like: e bedrooms; 2 full baths; colonial or ranch; kitchen not too old; fenced in back yard; towns I’d consider; approximate size of property; etc.
Now move to the second column, and for each item in the first column, write down what you’d prefer if money were no object. The list might be something like: 4 bedrooms; 2 full baths and 1 half bath; colonial only; kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances; large, private fenced-in back yard; my ideal town; exact size of property. Then add any item that wasn’t in your first column but would be ideal if you had it. Things like in-ground pool; corner property; open floor plan; good school district; and so on.
Finally, go to the third column, and for each item list what you definitely don’t want. Your 3rd column might be: 2 bedrooms; only 1 full bath; split level; dated or small kitchen; and so forth. You may want to keep some items blank, or add some items that weren’t in the 1st or 2nd columns. Whatever comes to mind- it might be something like: front-facing garage; run-down house next door; etc.
Now make a copy and give it to your Realtor. It will help him/her find houses for you to look at. Remember this is a work in progress, and there’s no reason you can’t change any items once you start seeing some of the houses that are available in the towns you asked to look in.
Notice that we haven’t mentioned one important item: price range. Perhaps you already know what your budget is and, if so, that’s great. The 3rd “P” in our series is “Price”, and we’ll discuss that more in tomorrow’s post. Realize that the price range you select will definitely affect many of the items on your Property list. For example, nothing may be available now that meets your list of “must have”s in your price range in some of the towns you’d like to consider. For example, a $500,000 3 bedroom, 2 bath colonial may be easier to find if you’re buying a home in Fair Haven or Little Silver than if you’d like to buy a similar home in Rumson for that price.
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