There are few things as stressful as buying a new home in today's market. Not only are the good homes only on the market for a few days, but often offering the asking price won't even get you the home.
Combine that with the stress of moving, home buying expenses , and negotiation to make sure the home is right for everyone, and you have a pile of stress on your hands.
Many parents take different approaches to the home buying process. Some will simply ignore all kids wishes, and choose a home that fits what they like. Others probably give the kids a little too much liberty and end up with a home that is great for kids but less accommodating to adults that have to do all the upkeep.
Here are a few tips to finding the home that the entire family will love and agree on.
Build a List
As soon as the decision to move and find a new home is final, bring the family together for a pow wow. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak their mind and talk about the things that they want in a new home. Make sure the younger kids get a chance to speak their mind. Also make sure that the kids understand the consequences of different things. For example, if your 14-year-old son wants a big lawn to play soccer in, remind him that he will be mowing the lawn every week as well. If your teenage daughter wants a big family room where she can invite her friends over, remind her gently of rules and cleaning issues.
Once you have the list decide what the must haves and wishes are. Rarely is a home perfect, so decide what you as a family really want. If you are the kind of family that spends a lot of time outside together playing sports or barbecuing, you will probably want to focus on a large yard. If you are a family that loves Netflix or gaming, it is probably a better idea to get a larger interior with a big family room for family television time.
Look at Past Sells
Before my family moved to Georgia me and my spouse got on the Georgia MLS and looked through the homes in our price range. We got a pretty good idea of what kinds of things we could expect in homes. We also got a good idea of what might be a good deal, and what might be an average deal. The good thing about most deals is that your appraisal will not let you overpay by too much, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't look for a good deal!
You can also look through the MLS to get a good idea of features and inclusions you want in your house. You may have not thought a garage was that important because you were renting before, but the more you think about it a garage sounds really nice!
Don't Settle Unless You Must
Sometimes you are in a huge hurry to move. There are a variety of reasons for this including job changes, budgeting issues, divorce, or any other issue that would force you to have to make decisions quickly. If this is the case then this is not for you.
For most families, however, it is a good idea to not rush the purchase of a home. You might be tempted to just buy one that is okay, but for the first few months at least, don't fall into this trap. Keep an eye out for a few months for the perfect home. If it doesn't come on then it is likely that the home you desire is out of your price range. But then you know that you got the best home you could get for the money you spent.