What to Look for When Buying a Home
When buying a home, everyone has priorities. The buying process is complex and time-consuming, and it’s easy to get out of control. Having written priorities is a helpful way to guide you through the process without forgetting some of the characteristics that are important to you and your family. Your real estate agent will also want to understand your priority list.
Understanding the most important features will help you rule out the houses that won’t work for you and compare the houses that will. In this article, we’ll cover things to consider when buying a home. Each will have different importance to individual buyers, but all the points are worth considering. If you haven’t really thought about these factors yet, this is your chance.
And, if you are buying the home with someone special, discuss it to make sure you agree on the importance of each feature.
Here are 10 important things to consider when buying a home.
1. Location of the house
Buyers want to find a place that gives them easy access to the places they frequent the most (work, school, shopping, leisure, place of worship, friends, and family). Find easy access to main roads and control traffic. Checking this out before a purchase can save you the hassle of leaving the neighborhood and down the main thoroughfare or an unreasonably long commute.
The location of the house in the neighborhood is also important to many people buying a home. Some people prefer to be near the main entrance, while others like to be away from traffic and further into the development. If there is a park, pool, or recreation area, some homeowners would choose the closest available land. Some prefer dead ends, and some people like to live on the main boulevard.
Talk about your preferences and ask your real estate agent if there are a lot of locations that bring in a higher purchase price.
2. Lot Size
Many people don’t care about the size of the lot the house sits on. In a neighborhood, lot sizes can be quite similar. Once you go to the projections and look at what is available, you will soon see if you have a clear preference for big or small, in the corners or in the interior. Some batches are shaped like a cake; some are rectangular and others irregular in shape.
Depending on the level of privacy, how you will be using the lawn, and the length of the driveway, you may be interested in this. If there appears to be a question about the end of one lot and the beginning of another, check the description and dimensions of the lot with your real estate agent.
If you find a home that has two lots, consider the possibilities. If the second lot is buildable, you could potentially add another building (additional garage, workshop, etc.) or you could divide the property, build a second home and sell it, or sell the land as is.
3. Number of rooms
Each family will have an idea of how many bedrooms they want. Most people want only two, and if there are children, the number can increase. Some families like their children to share bedrooms, while others prefer separate bedrooms for each to accommodate different study habits and bedtime.
If you have regular visitors for a while, it is good to have a room designated as a spare room. An additional bedroom is often used as an office, study, children’s playroom, or gym. Many hobbies may require workspace and storage for supplies, and an additional bedroom serves that purpose.
Think carefully about your lifestyle and what will improve it.
4. Number of bathrooms
Decide in advance how many bathrooms you prefer. Older homes may only have one bathroom, and buyers will often look for ways to add another. If there is only one bathroom, make sure you can live with this arrangement if remodel is not possible.
Newer homes typically have two or more bathrooms, although some bathrooms may not have a bathtub or shower. The size and style of a bathroom are also important. Do you want a bathtub or a shower or both? Hot tubs are popular for relaxing, and some people prefer a walk-in shower for easy access. If you need an accessible bathroom, you can go for it or a large bathtub that could be updated.
Think about the people (including guests) who will use the bathrooms, and you will have a clearer idea of the size and style of the bathroom that will best suit your family.
5. Kitchen layout
The kitchen really seems to be the heart of the house. This is where great food is created for the family and friends who gather there. When guests arrive, they usually end up hanging out in the kitchen, and since it is a center of activity and entertainment, size and layout matter.
Be clear if you need a large gourmet kitchen with plenty of counters, sink, and storage space, or if a typical kitchen is sufficient.
If you have one person who does all the cooking for just two people, a modest kitchen may suffice. Parents teaching children to cook healthy meals may want more space. Whatever preferences you have in the kitchen, write them down and discuss them with your real estate agent so you can find the best option for your family.
6. The age, style, and condition of the appliances
Appliances are expensive to replace when buying a home. Take your time to analyze the condition and age of each appliance. You can also have strong preferences. For example, you might like to cook on a gas stove and don’t like to use an electric stove. For some people, these kinds of differences can be deciding factors. If they are for you, let your real estate agent know.
A typical kitchen has many appliances. If there’s one you can’t do without, check to see if the house offers this convenience or if there’s room to add it later. Some are easier to add than others (microwave or dishwasher if space is limited).
Check your washer, dryer, water heater, and water softener, as well as your furnace, air conditioner, and humidifier. If there are fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, it is good to know if they have been properly maintained.
You can make an informed estimate of the age of the appliances, and your home inspector can report it later. When looking at a home, don’t assume that all the appliances will stay in the house.
Check the list of properties to see which ones are part of the purchase and which ones are not. While most mechanical appliances and systems look dated, you need to be aware of replacement costs.
7. Age of the house
If you are only interested in new construction, it does not matter. However, if you are willing to see all the houses in your price range that meet your basic needs, you may see houses that are decades old.
Older houses can have a pleasant character and may also need further repairs and improvements. Make sure you have the time, the will, and the budget to manage these projects.
Building codes change over the years, and it would be nice to have a basic understanding of some of the more important differences when considering houses built under a different set of rules.
Your real estate agent may have this knowledge or know where to find the answers. If you are looking for a certain vintage and a certain style, you may already know how houses were built in this era.
8. Purchase price
Before you even look, you need to determine your price range and get pre-approved for a loan. Buying a single-family home is a great investment and there is always more to the purchase price. Think about how all the costs will affect your finances and stick to your decision on the price range and the mortgage payment
9. Seller’s incentive to sell
When looking for a home, you will find that some sellers are more motivated than others. Some people will put their home on the market, but they don’t really care if it sells or not. Otherwise, they will be happy to continue living there and will try again later. With this type of sale, there is generally not much room for maneuver in the price.
However, there are times when a salesperson is highly motivated to sell. Examples could be the sale of a property, the relocation of a job, and the need to move out of state, or a person who pays two mortgages and wants to sell and return to one payment.
Your real estate agent will help you determine how motivated the seller might be and how to write the offer and counter offers to get the best price.
10. Maintenance mode
Unless you are buying a new home, there is usually a comprehensive list of possible maintenance items. When you look around the house, you are probably making a written or mental list of all the things that might need a little help. These could be repairs, large or small, replacements or additions that would make the house a home.
Some items may be primarily cosmetic and others may be time-consuming and expensive. Be sure to write them down and add them up. Is this a reasonable list or would it disrupt your family life or present a financial crisis?
Being true to your priorities will be important in finding the right accommodation for you and your family. Location, lot size, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen are just as important to the enjoyment of the home as they will be to resale.
Understanding the age and condition of the home, appliances, and components will help you determine how much work (and money) it will take to maintain it over time. Once you know this, you can see possible price offers that could make it a worthwhile investment for you.
It will take a lot of time and effort to find the next perfect (or near) home for your family. Be sure to leverage the knowledge and support of your real estate agent, mortgage consultant, and home inspector to guide you through the process.
If you enjoyed this article and were motivated in your search for your next family home, please share it with a friend who might also benefit. Thanks!