When choosing to buy a home, one of the hardest decisions to make is where you should put down roots and settle. With so many things to consider, the task can be easily overwhelming. You might be asking yourself:
- Should I be near work?
- Where are the nearest schools?
- What’s the best area to choose for my budget?
If these—and more—questions are popping up in your mind, these are completely normal concerns. To help you narrow down your search, a great exercise to use is the Buyer’s Triangle. Buying a house is basically a process of elimination, and this tool will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your wants and needs.
Ultimately, there are 3 things you should consider when moving into a new house:
What’s your ideal monthly payment?
What’s the convenience of the location?
What kind of features are you looking for in your new home?
It’s extremely important to remember that NOBODY gets all three of these things exactly how they imagine them, regardless of your purchase price. Being realistic in the homebuying search will help you to avoid frustration and narrow down your priorities. The goal of the Buyer’s Triangle exercise is to weigh each of these three areas against each other, helping you identify on paper what’s most important to you. If a property checks off at least 2 out of 3 items on your wishlist, you’re doing great; most people follow a similar course in their home buying search.
For example: Let’s say you found a house at a great price point and in a neighborhood you love—but the interior is not as updated as you’d like. OR say you went over your initial budget by $20,000—but snagged the house of your dreams in an ideal location. OR maybe you came in under budget on the purchase price and got all the features you wanted in a home—but you had to sacrifice your preferred location.
You can see then that, as you list out your needs and wants, you’ll be able to narrow down what’s most important to you and target the locations where you want to begin your house hunt. A good real estate agent will help you to realize these things as well and can steer you in the direction that’s best for you.
To be honest, many people that complete the Buyer’s Triangle exercise end up buying the complete opposite of what they initially wrote down in the exercise. This is completely okay, and still accomplishes the goal: it allowed them to see what was really important to them and their family. When armed with information, you too can choose the right location to begin your home search and find your dream home.