Did you ever buy something special and later realize you didn’t really need it or like it after all? It could have been something as small as a new shirt or pair of shoes or as big as an appliance, but no matter what it was, returning it was likely, as easy as packing it back up, locating the receipt, and taking it back to the store for a full refund or exchange.
Most things you buy you get to try first, however, unlike store merchandise or a car you can test drive, you can’t “try before you buy” your new Muskoka home.
This makes your decision to buy or not buy extremely important and potentially stressful. Not only is a home a huge investment, it’s also where your family will be spending the next several years of your lives.
Your home is not just a shelter; it is where your memories are made.
Here are some suggestions so you can avoid feeling remorseful after your offer has been accepted, or worse, living in a house you don’t love.
Make a checklist. Make a list of the things that are really important to you in a home. Ensure you include the ‘can’t have’ as well as the ‘want to have’. Some things will be ‘must have’ – deal breakers; others may be more negotiable. Separate the needs from the wants. It can be helpful to choose the top three.
When viewing homes, it’s hard to remember details after you have seen several houses, so take the list with you and check off items that each property has and make notes regarding missing ones. Can you be happy without them? Can they be improved or added later? It’s important to share this information with your REALTOR® and provide lots of feedback at each showing to help narrow down your search.
Have you seen the home more than once?
No matter how much you think you love a property, if you’ve only seen it once, you could be heading for buyer’s remorse. If possible, go back at a different time of day to get another perspective. You may see things differently the second time around. You may have missed something during your first visit that will stand out the second time. Or, you may like the home even better.
Explore every aspect the property.
Your first viewing of the property will have provided a basic understanding of the floor plan, condition and size. But, to really know if it is the right one for you, take time to experience the property. Your REALTOR® will want you to be sure it right for you too. Drive around the neighbourhood. Walk the boundaries of the lot, and look at the back of the home. Open every closet and go in the all the rooms, the basement, and garage. An offer can include a Home Inspection condition. This will provide an additional opportunity for you, along with your Home Inspector, to carefully review all aspects of the home.
Is this home what you set out to buy in the first place?
Frequently buyers modify their wants and needs throughout the search process. Did you lose focus on what you were looking for? Is this home going to meet your needs now and for the foreseeable future? Have you made a compromise that you will regret? Choosing a different neighbourhood to get a better price could end up being a mistake. Be sure you do not lose sight of the “needs” part of you search criteria by getting caught up in the “wants”.
Do you “want” this house or do you want to “win” this house?
Often, in a competitive situation, a buyer just wants to “win.” If you’re competing in a multiple offer situation, step back and ask yourself: Is this the home I really want or do I just want to beat out the other buyers? Also, has the potential purchase price exceeded your comfort zone? Putting an offer on a home at a price reflective of its market value is one thing. But after a few rounds of counter offers you may be looking at an amount that exceeds the list price. This may still be the home’s value but if it is more than you can comfortably afford it may be time to step away rather than “win”.
So, if you think you’ve found the perfect Muskoka home, ask yourself these questions. Ultimately, I want a client to sign an agreement only when they are completely convinced they have found the right home for them. If the home is not a “good fit” it cannot be put it back in the box and returned for a refund!
As your REALTOR® it is my mission to help you find a Muskoka home that will not only meet your needs but will bring you a sense of joy and contentment for years to come.