Five tips to finding the right home for you.
A home must be the best suited location and have the features that meet your unique needs. Keep in mind - you can almost always make changes to your home features, but it is unlikely you can change the location (without moving again!).
1. Location - distance
Distance is an important aspect of finding the right location. Increases in mileage will result in additional costs, such as gas, tolls and vehicle maintenance. Increased distance will also add time to your commute. What is the distance to your main destinations? Will the new home be closer to work, school, shopping, church, and your current medical practitioners? It is advisable to travel to and from any proposed homes at the time you would be commuting. This will allow you to better estimate the travel time, especially during rush hour, to see if the distance is right for you.
2. Location - Neighborhood
The community is another important aspect of location. Does the community have deed restrictions that impede future plans you may have? Is it a high traffic area that may present safety issues for children and pets? Is there a playground, walking path, sidewalks or shared land for outdoor activities? Is there an active civic association to assist with community questions, issues and block parties? Your Realtor can be an excellent resource to help find out more about any neighborhoods you are considering. A drive through the area is advisable during various times of day prior to purchasing a home to be sure it is a community that you are comfortable with.
3. Location - Lot Features
Once you have narrowed the search to a community, there are other considerations for the location of home. Does the lot offer the level of privacy you may prefer? Is there enough shade from trees or enough sun for a garden? Is the landscaping matched to the amount of time you will be able to allocate to maintenance? Does the sunrise and set in rooms that would be ideal for you?
4. Home Features
As a basis, you should complete the list of desired features and determine which features you must have, and which features would be nice to have. This list will serve well for your online search as well as provide a checklist while touring homes. Next you can evaluate which features can be added later versus which features need to part of the structure. If you prefer a home with a large kitchen and open concept, it may be best to find a home that features that design rather than costly renovations later. There are some features that can be more conveniently added later, such as carpet, a fence, a deck or energy efficient appliances.
5. Financinal Fit - An important consideration to deciding which features you must have will depend on your budget and cash-flow. Taking the next step of homeownership may be an increase in living expenses. Consider your total cost including insurance, taxes,utilities and maintenance. If you expect your budget to be tight, it would be advisable to ensure you have good working major systems, such as heating, roofing, plumbing and electric. Low maintenance exterior and energy efficient features would also be helpful. Consider that larger homes and homes with less insulation will be more costly to heat/cool. Be sure the home you are buying is a good "financial fit" for your monthly housing budget. Be careful about sacrificing on features that would be costly for repair or replacement unless you expect to have funds set aside for such expenses.
Start your home search now!
There are many considerations to finding the best home to suit your unique preferences. Your Realtor can design custom searches to keep you informed when homes meeting those needs are new to the real estate market. Sign-up now!
Bonus Worksheet Available: Buyer Wants and Needs Checklist