If I'm being honest, I don't really know the nitty gritty details of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." I get the gist that she stole some poor bear's breakfast though. I suppose she was fortunate that the bears let her run away.

Last night, I felt like Goldie as we were shopping for a new bed. We opted for the Sleep Number brand and it seems to me Goldilocks would have been better served with one of those. Being given the luxury of setting the firmness of your side of the bed is amazing and she may have been satisfied with the first bed she tried (with the included remote, of course).

House hunting is similar but quite a bit more stressful. There are so many factors that come into play with this decision it can be a bit overwhelming. Our friend is (desperately) searching for a home right now and the stress is really taking its toll on her.

The buyers are clamoring for the limited homes that are available so every time she comes across a home she is interested in, the clock starts ticking and she feels that pressure. Does she have time to get a home inspection? How long will it take to get the bank approval? Is her offer going to be high enough? Will she have to wait until the next perfect home comes along?

There are some steps you can take to mitigate some of the stress though. As with most things, preparation is the key ingredient. Goldilocks tested all three bowls of porridge, all three beds and all three chairs. She obviously knew what she wanted (temperature, size and softness) but she still sampled each one available. The lesson here is if you are confident in your "must haves" and "nice to haves" lists, you can cruise through the market with a lot less stress than those less prepared.

I know I want (at least) a two-car garage. That is a must-have for me. So it allows me to pass over those homes that don't include one. Regardless of all the other attributes of that home, without a garage, I don't have to waste my time on it.

As a new or first-time buyer, you may not even know exactly what you want. And that is totally fair as well. Your priority should be to walk in Goldilocks' shoes and start to try things out.

As you begin viewing homes, you will quickly learn what works and does not work for you. Maybe you love the idea of an island in the kitchen. Maybe a bar surrounding the kitchen is more your style (we love it). The location of bedrooms, laundry, living rooms and other common areas all start to fall into place as you experience what you love and don't love.

"Although it can be time consuming and somewhat tiring, the more homes a buyer sees (especially as they are first starting out) the more confident they are when the right one comes along," said Badger Realty agent Brendan Battenfelder.

I think I mentioned earlier that my honey is car shopping as well. The same rules apply there. The more cars you drive, the more informed you are and the better decision you are able to make.

Living in the mountains, we tend to spend lots of time going up or coming down hills. The more cars we drive, the more we learn which ones can't handle these hills and which are better suited for the North Country.

If you have experienced the joy of upgrading from four to six cylinders, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you spend time sitting in a studio condo versus a three-bedroom home, you start to appreciate the space and begin forming your size minimums. I don't need a 5,000 square foot mansion, but I do know I want a bit of wiggle room in my next home.

We have been focused on sellers for the last few months because the market is in desperate need of your homes. The buyers are out there and as the temperatures rise their numbers are increasing.

As a buyer, it is important to have your "must haves" in place and all of your financing in order. You want to be ready to make your move if the temperature of the porridge is just right.

Happy shopping!

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