Q: I think I may be experiencing severe “information overload.” What can I do to break down some of this information so I don’t become overwhelmed?
A: Information overload is normal when searching for a new home. Frequently recognized symptoms of information overload are:
Modelmixonia: characterized by the tendency to combine multiple floor plans from one or more builders into one floor plan that does not actually exist in real life.
Feature fixation syndrome: developing an obsession with a particular feature although your needs could be met with alternative features. A commonly observed subtype of this syndrome is basement fixation syndrome, which manifests itself in an unwavering obsession with having a basement for extra space.
HOA Frustritus: Confusion and frustration, as a result of numerous failed attempts to decipher and compare HOA Fees.
*Disclaimer: Okay, we realize these may be a bit of an exaggeration, but if you are feeling tormented over selections or experiencing frustration with any of the above, we want you to know you are not alone.
Finding your dream home requires a series of tradeoffs. In order to find your dream home within a realistic investment range, it is extremely important to prioritize your requirements and preferences so that you can successfully manage trade-offs and overcome the pratfalls of information overload.
We have received feedback from our homeowners to come up with 7 proven strategies for overcoming information overload during the new home search process:
1. Come up with your number one motive for buying a home:
What is your ultimate goal? Why are you looking for a new home in the first place? Is it a second home where you can enjoy time with family and friends in the summer? Is it to downsize and have a home for future retirement? An investment? Or maybe to have a better quality of life and relaxed lifestyle at the beach? Keeping your primary goal at the forefront of your search will prevent you from making impulsive decisions and will help you eliminate communities that are too far off from what you envision and have worked so hard for.
2. Location, Location Location:
Make a list of your requirements regarding a location. This list should include activities that you will be enjoying on a regular basis, your hobbies, how close you would like to be to the beach, shopping, gyms, restaurants, etc. Then try and determine which of these are truly requirements and which are just preferences. Mark anything that is a “must have” with a star to note its importance.
3. Make a list of your requirements in a builder:
This list should include things like reputation, included features, building techniques and energy efficiency. Above all, this list should also include a place where you can jot down how you felt while you were in the community and talking to the representatives. Did they get to know you? Were you able to learn more about the company and talk to them openly about your situation and what is important to you?
4. Make a list of your requirements regarding a community:
This can include things like types of amenities, yard maintenance preferences, the overall look of the community, home site sizes, etc. Again, try and break these down further into requirements versus preferences.
5. Take the time to write a prioritized list of what you need and want in a floor plan:
As you are doing this try to list not only the need, but also the circumstances behind that need. For instance: You may have on your list that you need a certain room or space, but in reality there may be several alternative spaces that might work well for you. I met a newly married couple very focused on having a study in their home, but the floor plan they had fallen in love with didn’t offer a separate study area. When I asked how the space would be used, we determined that their requirements could easily be met with an extension in the Owners Suite since the husband worked from home several days a week and just needed a desk area for a small laptop and printer. If we had focused on their circumstances rather than the study itself, it would have been easier for us to quickly problem solve and narrow down the most fitting floor plans within their ideal investment range.
6. Come up with a realistic Investment Range:
What would you like to invest in a new home? Is this number based on an ideal monthly payment amount or are you planning on paying cash? Some times in order to accurately land on this number you will need to run a hypothetical “Investment Analysis” with a Community Sales Manager to calculate monthly payment, down payment, property taxes etc., at different investment levels. For instance you could run one for $400K versus $450K to see the relative difference in a given community. This will help in your decision-making and can be a very eye opening experience. Your purchase power increases because property taxes in Delaware are surprisingly low and interest rates are still low. You can ask our Loan Officer, Lynn to discuss your situation in more detail as well. She can be reached at:
7. Talk to homeowners and then talk to a few more:
If you need help reaching out to current homeowners, ask a Community Sales Manager about their Community outreach program. You can also view our real life customer testimonials on our webpage.
With this level of information, you will be armed to make more confident systematic decisions in narrowing down the best communities and homes for you and your family. Our Sales Team will be able to help cure your “Information overload” with an efficient approach to problem solving. They will be able to guide you and focus specifically on presenting you with the best scenarios and solutions that directly meet your needs, wants and circumstances. All while making the process a fun and enjoyable experience!
Interested and have more questions? Contact Sara with all of your home buying questions.