Buying a new home can be an exciting time, or it can quickly become an overwhelming time without the right preparation. Surveys often see moving homes rated as more stressful than getting a divorce or having children. So, what is the secret to a positive home buying experience?
Several key factors can help a new home buyer, including creating a home wish list. A home wish list helps organize your thoughts and narrow down your dream house search in advance, which can speed up the home buying process. But even if you have a home wish list, you need to be able to communicate it effectively to your real estate agent; otherwise, your dream home will not materialize.
Read on to learn how to communicate your home wish list to your agent successfully.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
The first step is to make sure you have the right real estate agent. A reputable real estate agent will have the expertise to look at your list, respect it, and make fair suggestions if anything is not realistic.
Picking the right agent is also key to ensuring that you feel comfortable asking them questions and feel like they listen to you. The best step to finding a suitable real estate agent is to check independent reviews and enquire about their experience. The right real estate agent should:
- Always relay important information
- Explain processes in an easy way
- Follow up with you
- Establish a communication plan
There are over 3 million active real estate licensees in the US, but not all of those real estate agents will be suitable for you. Inconsistent and poor communication are two traits you want to avoid with your real estate agent. So, before you begin to communicate your home wish list, ensure you have the right agent and stick with them for consistency.
Understand the Process
To make sure you are on the same page with your real estate agent, understand the home buying search process. It can help ensure you communicate the key parts of your home wish list without any misunderstanding. It will also help inform your wish list and keep it realistic.
You will also avoid problems later in the home buying process and guarantee communication is as smooth as possible. Your real estate agent should communicate the home buying process to you. Then, you can make a communication plan together.
Consider factors such as the best means of communication and when you can contact your real estate agent. What is your preferred method of communication? Agree on phone calls, in-person visits, emails, or text messages.
It can also be helpful to schedule a time to meet or pick a local agent whom you can visit in person. If you are working with an agency, ask for one direct contact you can liaise with, so everything remains consistent.
Organize Your Home Wish List
Before you communicate your home wish list to your agent, organize it accordingly, so everything is clear. First, check your list covers everything, such as:
- Style of home
- Number of levels
- How many bedrooms
- Outdoor space
- Neighborhood and location
- Key features
If you have a current home, you can also consider what works and what doesn't work to inform your list. Once you have written down all the important criteria for your new home, you can then organize it.
There are several ways you can organize your list, such as by ordering your home wish list by priority. This will help your real estate agent understand what to focus on during their search. You can also search for homes online for inspiration and include some examples so they can picture your home.
Alternatively, you can arrange your home wish list into three columns such as; top priorities, wants, and wishes. Another way is to use a rating system such as 1-5:
- 5: Must-have
- 4: Very important
- 3: Important
- 2: Would like to have
- 1: Not a priority
Or divide your home wish list into needs and wants. It helps communicate what you are willing to compromise on and what has to be ruled out. If you have a partner, you might want to create two separate lists initially and then join them together, so you are on the same page before you communicate with your real estate agent.
Balance Wants and Needs
It is important to find a balance between honoring your wants and also recognizing what is reasonable. A way to do this is to check what features are hard to change with homes, such as:
- Size of outdoor space
- Number of bedrooms
- Storage spaces
- Square footage
- Garage and other requirements
Start with the factors that are hard to change, as your real estate agent will recognize the importance of these factors. For example, location is a critical factor, whereas a specialty room could be added at a later date. You can give examples of neighborhoods you like or certain criteria, such as good crime levels and access to outdoor locations.
If you start by communicating small details of your home, your agent may struggle to gain a picture of what you would like or spend too much time trying to find homes that may not fit your general needs. After all, there are over 76 million owner-occupied homes in the US, but how many of them are the same?
Be Open to Questions
When creating and communicating your home wish list, it is important to be realistic. Be open-minded about making some changes but also know what is non-negotiable for you.
A good way to do this is to ask if the real estate agent has any questions after you share your list or send your home wish list in advance. Then, you can arrange a time to meet and discuss it once everyone has had time to process it. Open communication needs to occur on both sides, so everyone is on the same page.
Be open to the real estate agent asking questions about the list, as it demonstrates they want to understand and clarify key details. It can also help you work together to make the home wish list realistic too.
Factor in Your Budget
When creating your home wish list, do not forget to factor in your budget. If you are not sure about what is realistic for your budget, then speak directly to your agent, liaise with mortgage companies, or search for homes online for inspiration.
If you do not communicate your budget with your agent, you can cause delays in buying a new home. The best way to do this is to work out your budget when you begin searching for homes and tell your agent when you share your home wish list. Otherwise, they will share homes that may be out of your budget, which could lead to you feeling disappointed or overwhelmed with the home buying search.
It is possible to find your dream home within your budget, as long as you are also realistic about your budget.
Schedule a Time
Once you have created your home wish list, it is helpful to schedule a time with your real estate agent to discuss it. Maybe you sent it to them in advance, or you want to share it at the time of the meeting. Scheduling a time to meet helps highlight the importance of the home wish list for you.
It is useful to have copies of your home wish list so you can share it with the agency and also keep track during the search process. You could even create an online list that you can edit in case preferences change, and you want to communicate those changes in real-time easily. Editable documents will also allow your agent to make comments, so you become a team working towards finding the home that meets your home wish list criteria.
Listen to Red Flags
While it is important to be realistic when it comes to your home wish list, you shouldn't ignore red flags. If you communicate your home wish list and feel like it was ignored or you were not listened to, it is worth raising this as a concern.
You should feel able to communicate with your real estate agent with ease. Being a new home buyer, or even moving homes after a long period, can feel overwhelming. However, you also know what your needs are, so if a real estate agent is shutting you down or dismisses your list, it could be worth looking for a new agent.
Find Your Dream New Home
A home wish list can help narrow down your search and speed up the process of buying a new home. However, if you are working with an agent, you need to share the list with them, so they understand your needs and wants. Follow these tips to ensure you communicate your list successfully with your real estate agent.
Are you ready to create your home wish list or search for a new home? Hommati is here to help you find the best real estate agents and your dream home. Find a real estate agent today to get started.