Looking for a new home can be stressful, and it can be fun. It’s exciting to imagine yourself in a new home. However, it is also easy to get caught up in certain aspects of a home (like the size of the bedrooms) and forget about other important factors. If you want to avoid buyer’s remorse, you need to look at all the different aspects of a home. The best thing to do is come up with a list ahead of time that describes exactly what you want in a house.
You may not get everything on your wish list, but if you think ahead, you can prioritize the most important things on your list. Once you start shopping, it’s easy to see what you imagine is your dream home and forget about the other things you need in a home. Here are five factors to consider.
It is so easy to fall in love with a home, regardless of where it is located. Even if you tell your realtor that you have a target neighborhood, your realtor may take you to other locations if they think you will get a better deal or find what you want. However, even if you find your dream home, if it isn’t in a location that works for you, the big rooms and fancy landscaping will only impress you for so long. You need to consider if the area is safe, if the schools are good, if you are near stores you like to go to, and how far your commute to work will be. Not only does location affect you, but it affects the future market value of the home if you ever decide to sell it again.
The size of a home sometimes gets overlooked because of other positive qualities like an updated kitchen or a great layout. However, unless you are planning to flip a home, you need to think about your future. If you are planning to get pets, or have kids, you may need more room down the road. While a small home can be charming, you can also quickly grow out of it. Even a small bedroom can seem possible when you see it with little or no furniture, but you have to be sure that your furniture will fit, otherwise you might have to go out and spend money on new furniture. While some homes can be expanded, that is very costly.
You also need to be careful about buying a home that is too big. Although extra space is great, if you live alone, or your kids are about to move out, you may not want a really big house. Large houses require a lot of upkeep and cleaning.
Amenities won’t matter to everyone looking to buy a home, but they are an important thing to consider. If you want to have access to a pool, tennis courts, or other amenities, you might need to consider a condo. There are also neighborhoods that have amenities, so you can look for a home in a neighborhood that has the amenities you want. Be careful, though. Amenities can really make a property more desirable, but sometimes they come at a hefty price. You need to factor in the monthly or yearly fees into your budget for your home. If you can only afford a certain monthly payment, and your house payment alone will be close to that amount, you may not want to look at a home with amenities and fees.
Homes take work to keep them in good condition. When you tour a home, make sure that you go back at least one more time to really look at it. If it has great landscaping, remember that the beautiful flowers will take time to maintain. If it has high ceilings, consider the cost of heating and cooling, and even having the house painted. If the home is older, factor in the cost of repairs. Even in a newer home, if appliances are reaching the end of their expected age span, you need to consider that too. Although bigger and older homes often require more upkeep, there are sometimes aspects of even newer or smaller homes that will need work.
Of course, if you are looking at purchasing a fixer-upper, you need to really factor in all the work and time (and money) that it will cost to get the home to be just like you want. Seeing the potential in a home is often easy, but the actual work of fixing a house can sometimes be much more than a buyer initially thinks.
Regardless of how perfect of a home what you find, the most important question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you can afford the home itself. An Affordability Calculator can help you determine how much you can afford. Sometimes banks will offer you a loan that is much greater than you can actually afford after you factor in your monthly bills and debt. Although it’s tempting to purchase the nicest home possible (and it’s often easy to rationalize ways you can pay for it), in the end, if you purchase a home that costs so much that you have to work extra hours to afford it, your stress will make it difficult to enjoy the home. Financial situations change, and you need to purchase a home that you feel comfortable you can pay for.
If you are comfortable that you can afford the home, that it is in the right location, has the appropriate amenities, is the right size, and that you can maintain it, you may have found your dream house. Take a look at the list you made to make sure the home meets your other requirements (number of rooms, layout, etc.), and make sure you are choosing a home that has what you want (and not just what catches your eye). Also be sure you look over the disclosure sheet.