Part 3: Finding the Right Home
Searching for and choosing the right home can be a bundle of emotions. First time home buyers will likely experience excitement, stress, adrenaline, frustration, calm, and anxiety all within a short period of time. For some, it can be so fun that they want to purchase the first house they love. For others, it may feel so overwhelming they are tempted to settle for “just something that works”. But do not let strong emotions dictate the choice.
Instead, be sure to consider all major aspects thoroughly before committing to a house. From commuting time to neighborhood, all important factors should be weighed carefully without letting emotions cloud the facts. Once those have been honestly evaluated, then factor in your emotional draw to each house. When home buying is approached with a solid mix of logic and passion, homebuyers can find the house that best fits their situation and makes them happy.
Size is one of the primary places to start when deciding which house to buy. But beware: most first time buyers tend to make the mistake of getting fixated on the exact square footage. Buying a home is more than just finding the biggest amount of square footage for the budget. Instead, couples should focus more on purchasing a home that is large enough for the future needs, not just the biggest house on the block.
Outside of the house itself, it is important to find a home with enough outdoor space. For those considering purchasing a pet or having children in the future, be sure there is enough yard space to adequately contain them. Gardeners should ensure there is enough space to allow their plants to grow. For those not fond of mowing, maybe a house with a large backyard is not the best option. Yards can be great luxuries or added stressors, so it is important to consider the best option for the family before purchasing.
As mentioned before, plans change and homes are long term commitments. A little bit of foresight can help the home buying experience be more successful. When narrowing down the list of potential homes to buy, be sure to consider general plans for the next 5-10 years. Ask questions such as: Is it important every future child has their own bedroom? Am I going to need space for a personal office for work? Is there space in the garage to house storage and the cars?
Buying a house is more than just the house, it is also joining a neighborhood community. In some cases, the neighborhood may be just as important as the house itself. For those looking to commute more efficiently or commute via bike or walking, it will be essential to find a neighborhood close to the workplace. If public transportation will be the primary source of travel, review city routes to find a bus or subway stop within walking distance.
HOAs are also in most neighborhoods. When seriously looking into a home, it would be beneficial to understand any rules and regulations you would be agreeing to when purchasing the house. HOAs also have monthly fees attached to them, so those considering a home at the top of their budget should factor the additional cost into the bills.
Another major part of choosing neighborhoods is school districts. For families or couples looking to start a family, choosing a neighborhood also means choosing the school simultaneously. It is important to decide your preferred school districts ahead of time and start by looking at neighborhoods that fall within the school’s boundaries.
Visit our Local Area tab on our Communities pages for information on transportation and schools in our neighborhoods.
Once size and neighborhood have been considered, it is time to think about the details. All the lesser considerations should be brought into play at this point. For example, is extra storage important? What about hardwood or tile floors? Do you care whether the bathroom has a shower or tub?
Make a list of the additional details that you would prefer in a home, but would not be a deal breaker and consider them at this point in the process. Though the details should never overwhelm the importance of the previous factors, details may be a good way to break a tie between indecisive home buyers. Little details can also add more overall value to a home. Choosing finishes such as granite countertops or stainless-steel appliances may not only fit the home-buyer’s personal style, but increase the retail value of the house.
Renovation potential may be more important to some home-buyers than others. For those that like investing in DIY improvement projects, finding an outdated, older home with room for improvement may prove to be a better fit. However, those with little time or building expertise should search for more updated homes. Renovations cost many resources including money, time, and intensive planning. Busy individuals or families that cannot commit those resources to upgrading the home should not try to tackle homes requiring many renovation projects. For those waffling, be honest with yourself about your own passion, talents, skills, and timelines to determine if the renovation route is right for you.