You've searched and searched, finding nothing that suits, when suddenly you've found not one, but two homes that would be perfect. What to do? First, remember that your housing market may demand that you come to a decision quickly. You don't want your dream home to get away. Be prepared to make a prompt, reasonable decision using your head as well as your heart.
Make a list to help weigh the pros and cons of each property. Start with the basics:
- Distance to your workplace
- Transportation options
- Homeowners association dues
Take a look at the surrounding neighborhood. Is it well maintained and safe? Look to see if there are many other homes for sale and check on the area's crime statistics.
How long have each of your two favorite houses been listed? A seller is more likely to accept a lower offer if the home has been on the market a long time. If the price between the two homes is significantly different, the cost might be a deciding factor. Committing to a 15 or 30-year mortgage means your standard of living may be better starting with the lower price.
If you have children, you are likely interested in having other families living nearby, proximity to playgrounds and parks, as well as good schools. Even if you don't have children, note that homes near quality schools will hold their value better than those near poor-performing schools.
Finally, which of your two candidates has the most features from the wishlist you had in mind when you started your search? A gourmet kitchen, space for gardens, room for entertaining, a home office, walk-in closets – what do you want the most and which house hits more of your hot buttons?
This list will likely nudge one home to the top. Throughout your deliberation, be sure to use your real estate agent's skills to help guide you through the process. Your agent has great knowledge about market data and the investment potential of the properties. He or she will have important information on the situation of each of the homes' sellers. Your agent will be glad to take you through the houses more than once or twice so you feel comfortable with your decision. Depend on your agent to take emotion out of the equation and help you look at the facts about each property.
Ultimately, you don't want to spend too much time deliberating between the two homes or they may be lost to other buyers. If all else fails, go with your gut. If you are deciding between two dream homes, you can't go wrong.