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  • Writer's pictureKira Witherwax

New Year, New House

Updated: Nov 22, 2022



Thinking about a new house for the new year? Prices are supposed to cool off a bit, which makes this seller’s market a little more manageable for buyers. Interest rates are expected to rise slightly, but still stay below pre-pandemic rates. Historically low interest rates and rising rents it’s a great time to buy a house. With not many houses available, it might be the perfect time to take a minute to catch your breath and focus on your housing goals for 2022.


After you gather your team (a trusted lender and Realtor®) you’ll want to take a look at what your wants and needs are in a property. For some people, a specific school district is a necessity, or maybe having less than 3 bedrooms won’t work for your family. Or maybe, you want to be able to see into the living room while preparing dinner. There are no wrong answers; it’s just important to think about what is a deal breaker for you and what is a preference. If there are 2 adults deciding together, discuss it with each other. Nothing makes it more difficult than 2 people buying a house together but wanting opposite things. More than once I’ve stood outside of a house with a couple after a showing and had to say “I’m going to let you two have this conversation without me.” It’s always a little awkward when things get heated.


I find it best to picture your future, maybe a future family gathering or even an average Saturday. Basically, close your eyes and picture what home looks like and feels like to you. That will help you think of what is important to you. If your perfect picture includes you looking out your window at the lake or letting your dog out in the backyard, those are items to take note of. Or maybe it means on Saturday running to the store (because it’s close by) to pick up last minute items for a cookout.


After you have your list of wants and needs, it’s time to have a conversation with your Realtor®. As you know, somethings in a house are easily changed and some not so much. If a large yard is on your must have list, that’s probably not easy to change, same with the school district, a dead-end street or not being a split-level. However, if you need a certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms, it might be worth brainstorming with your agent to see if there are any houses where one could be added. Could your dream garage be added at a later date? Are you looking for move in ready? First, that means different things to different people, so make sure to talk specifics, but if a house is ugly or just not your taste, it might be worth looking honestly, about how to change that. Is the whole house really dated or is it just that it has some terrible carpeting that you just can’t look past? Sometimes it’s not even the house, it’s just the owner’s stuff. If the décor is outdated, try to picture just the items that stay - the flooring, the walls, the cabinets. With all of the owner’s belongings gone, would it still look outdated? Is it something with just new counter tops and paint could look completely different?


It’s ideal to do this exercise objectively at the beginning of the process, if possible, because once you start seeing houses, it’s easy to get distracted by specific houses or paint colors or shag carpeting. But if you’ve already been looking, it’s not too late to sit down and come up with your list to refocus your search. You may find yourself considering houses you’ve dismissed before. And If you decide you’re able to look past some things (that are fixable) that other buyers aren’t, you just might find a home sooner and at a better price point.


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