The Hunt for a New Home is On!

The following tips for finding the right home are geared for newbies to the market– and for veterans who could use a brush-up on the basics.

1. Make a List of “Must Haves” and “Wants.” Your search will be easier and you’ll be more confident in your decision if you take a systematic approach. The best way is to make two lists: Your “must haves” and your “wants.” Your “must haves” are the essentials: bedroom/bath count, square footage and unique features like room for your kayak or big walls for your art. Your “wants” are the qualities that you would like for your new home to have but can live without. Great examples of “wants” are hardwood floors, a gas stove, and architectural style. By taking the time to articulate what you need and want in your new home, you will know exactly what to look for when looking at prospective homes.

2.  Learn the neighborhoods. The variety of home styles and neighborhoods is astonishing in San Francisco. You can buy a mid-century house in Midtown Terrace, an Edwardian flat in the Western Addition or a sleek apartment condo in South Beach.

Sometimes I like to put my buyers in a car and drive the neighborhoods. It gives them an opportunity to learn some of the City’s geography and get a feel for the different areas. The 700 block of Waller is vastly different from the 300 block, for example. Weather is also a big consideration. If you’re a sun worshipper, some neighborhoods, like the Outer Sunset, are out of the question.

3. Beware of the “Red Shoe Experience.” This tip comes from Elizabeth Weintraub, of Lyon’s Realty in Sacramento. Women will relate to this. Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. You go to the mall. At the first shoe store, you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on. They fit perfectly. They are glamorous. Priced right, too. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in the mall trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and the red shoes are gone. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it. 

4. Make your decision! This tip is a corollary to the Red Shoe Experience. Homebuyers often hesitate after they’ve found the right home because they’re not confident about their decision-making process. Your home is probably the largest investment of your life, and it’s normal to feel those butterflies. However, if you have followed the steps above, you will have your bases covered. If you’ve found a home that meets all of your “must haves,” most of your “wants,” is in the right neighborhood, and in your budget – it’s the one for you!

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