The past two years have been unpredictable, to say the least, with plenty of stressors outside of purchasing a home that can trickle into the homebuying process. On top of those external stressors, 98 percent of first-time homebuyersreportedly lost out on a home they were interested in this past year. Here are some pointers to alleviate stress during the homebuying process these winter months.
Think of your wishlist as your North Star.
Narrowing down factors such as neighborhood, square footage, and more can feel intimidating when planning your future. Create a wishlist of non-negotiables and limits — your list of must-haves versus nice-to-haves. This can include the home’s distance from work, distance from a parent, or proximity to a certain school district.
“Get in your car and drive so that you can opt in and out of certain neighborhoods altogether — this will make searching more bespoke for your specific location needs and wants,” says consumer trends expert Beatrice de Jong with Opendoor.
Your Sunday relaxation ritual may just come in handy here. Meditation can be an integral part of keeping calm — and that includes during the homebuying process.
“Whether your personal meditation approach involves positive affirmations, yoga, or quiet time, taking time away from the search to relax your mind can work wonders,” says de Jong. “Take a break with the Calm app for a few minutes each day or burn one of your favorite candles with a relaxing scent combination to keep your mind at ease.”
Try to trust the process.
Whether you’re pushing up against a deadline or feeling fatigued, it’s important to remember that there is more than one “dream home” — and that you’re on your way to finding yours. Try to “trust the process,” says de Jong. Shift your mindset and take advantage of the lengthy homebuying process to familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods you’re searching in.
Match with a like-minded real estate agent.
There are many talented real estate agents, but there are also plenty of not-so-great ones. Make sure the person you decide to use is someone you like and trust, and is well respected in your community.
Have all your ducks in a row.
This includes having a strong mortgage pre-approval. At a minimum, Mintz says you want to have spoken with a mortgage professional. This way, you’ll know how much you can afford, and you’ll have a rough estimate of what it will cost you to purchase your new home. Be 100 percent prepared to submit the offer once you find the home you want.
Be completely prepared for tours — in person or virtually.
Although there is less new inventory coming on the market, there are still new listings hitting the MLS every day. “Be prepared to see a home ASAP, as you never know which home might be ‘the one’!” adds Mintz. “Also, if you are not able to see a home (you may be away), your Realtor can preview it for you, answer your questions regarding the home, and even take a video tour of the property for you.”
And finally? Pounce.
Once you’ve found the right home, try to become aggressive and pursue that property with vigor. “Don’t assume that since it has not sold that there will not be any other offers. Your strongest negotiating position is when there are no other offers on the table,” says Mintz. “Once a second offer comes in, your negotiating power decreases substantially.”