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How to Avoid Information Overload When Home Shopping

September 26, 2023
Couple home shopping on an iPad

Shopping for a new home is one of life’s most exciting (and sometimes stressful) times. You’ll find yourself asking many questions – the standard ones like: Where do I want to live? How many bedrooms and baths do we need? What square footage makes sense for my family? As well as bigger ones such as: Is this a good time to buy? How do I know if I’m getting a good deal? Are the incentives offered ones I need or care about?

It's easy to feel overwhelmed and lost in all the details of what you need (or think you need!), so we’re sharing some tips on avoiding information overload when home shopping.

Older couple laughing while sitting on a couch looking at a laptop

1. Enjoy the process

It sounds so simple, but before moving forward, you need to stop – or at least slow down. When large amounts of information are thrown at us, the reflex to take action kicks in, resulting in a decision that may not be in your best interest. You may feel overwhelmed and decide to do nothing or make a quick decision without really thinking it through.

The best thing you can do is sit down, take a deep breath, and allow the feelings of stress to subside and pass. Talk yourself through what you’re feeling, label those emotions to help you take a step back, and notice what you’re feeling rather than letting those feelings impact you mentally and physically. Once you feel calm and have a clear head, it’s easier to sort through information and decide what is important.

Kitchen in the Brubeck plan in the Brightside Collection at Seton by Brookfield Residential in Calgary AB

Brubeck Floor Plan, Brightside Collection, Seton Community, Calgary, Alberta

2. Identify your priorities

When buying a house, everyone has priorities. You may want a home with a large yard, while someone else would be happier with zero lawn maintenance. You may want a quiet space for everyone, while others don’t mind if the kids share a bedroom. Imagine your ideal life in your new home and what you require to make it a reality.

Whether you’re moving to be closer to family, want a larger home for your growing household, downsizing for your future retirement, or to be near a vibrant downtown lifestyle, keeping your primary goal at the forefront of your search will help you stay on course and eliminate options that don’t fit your vision.

Start by making your list of requirements regarding location. What area would best fit the lifestyle you’re envisioning? Consider how you would live daily, from necessities like grocery stores, schools, and gyms to fun activities like shopping, dining, and entertainment. Once you’ve narrowed down where you want to live, shopping for houses within that location is more manageable.

Neighbors dancing and having fun at Kissing Tree by Brookfield Residential in San Marcos TX

Kissing Tree Community, San Marcos, Texas

When figuring out what’s important in your home, think about what you need and want in a floor plan as well as the overall community. If you want a vibrant community with planned activities, a variety of amenities, and great connectivity between neighbors, it’s important to find a home in a neighborhood that offers that. It’s possible to find the right house in the wrong neighborhood or the wrong house in the right neighborhood, so it’s important to weigh your priorities when making a final decision on your purchase.

Chances are, staying within budget is high on your priority list. It’s good to scroll through listings to get a lay of the market, but you should have a budget in mind once you are seriously considering purchasing a home. Identify what number you’re comfortable paying monthly and remember to consider the actual mortgage alongside insurance, taxes, etc. to ensure you’re working with an accurate range of estimated costs.

Whether it’s community amenities, the design and style of the home, or strictly about the numbers, it’s important to decide what are your “must-haves” and what is simply a “nice to have.” As you start to look at and compare homes, these priorities will naturally start to fall into place.

Community Pool at Wendell Falls by Brookfield Residential in Wendell NC

Wendell Falls Community, Wendell, North Carolina

3. Research and plan

Now that you have a calm mind and a clear list of priorities, you’re ready to jump into the home shopping process. There are plenty of reasons to buy a new construction home, including the incentives frequently offered by homebuilders.

If you want to move into a home that is uniquely yours on day one, ask the homebuilder if they offer a design center credit or upgrade allowance. Or, inquire about credits to apply towards your closing costs to reduce the cash out of your pocket. You can also see if there is a credit for using a preferred mortgage lender and apply it towards a rate buy down to lower your monthly payment or an extended interest rate lock. Visit our website to learn which promotions are currently being offered by Brookfield Residential.

Young couple consults with a financial advisor

Calculate how much you’re comfortable spending each month, and use the sales team and mortgage lender to help you run different scenarios. Playing with different hypotheticals can help you calculate your monthly payment, down payment, and the best use of incentives in the most advantageous way. Just be sure to keep your list of priorities handy, as it can be tempting to jump on an incentive you may not actually care about.

Beyond the incentives offered, be sure to research the homebuilder. You want a homebuilder with a reputation for quality, energy efficiency, customer service, and innovative home designs and features to meet every lifestyle and budget. Fortunately, when you choose a Brookfield Residential home, you can be sure you’re getting more than four walls and a roof – you’re getting the best place to call home.

Primary bath with black accents in a Brookfield Residential home in the Austin, TX area

Kissing Tree Community, San Marcos, Texas

4. Give yourself a deadline

If you’re not careful, you can end up in a cycle of never-ending research and planning. With the changing housing market coupled with fluctuations in mortgage rates, it’s easy to worry that you’re not making the right decision or that the timing isn’t right for the decision you do make. The constant barrage of information can be overwhelming, and you may need to take a step back to determine if any new information would radically change your decision.

There’s plenty of research on housing trends and mortgage rates, but there isn’t a cut-and-dry science behind shifts in the market. Experts can speculate what they think will happen, but there isn’t a set rule for how and when trends shift. At some point, you may need to move forward and give yourself the grace to take action even if you don’t feel you know all the facts.

Exterior of a home at Elyson by Brookfield Residential in Katy TX

Norwich Floor Plan, Traditional Homes Collection, Elyson Community, Katy, Texas

5. Act on your decision

After being so thoughtful during the decision-making process, you can feel good about taking the necessary steps to move forward. Find a homebuilder that offers home designs you want and incentives that meet your needs. If you find everything you want and decide to enter a contract, feel good about that decision and don’t look back. If you find yourself back in the cycle of researching and second-guessing your choice, take a step back and remind yourself why you made the decision.

Kitchen in a home in the Laned Collection at Parkland by Brookfield Residential in Edmonton AB

Laned Collection, Parkland Community, Edmonton, Alberta

We know home shopping can be an overwhelming time with lots of information to sort through. Connect with our sales team to learn more about the homes and communities we offer as well as our current incentive programs. Explore homebuyer tips and the mortgage calculator from our preferred lender partner, BRP Home Mortgage, for additional help. We’ll be expecting you!