What you should prioritize when looking for a new house.
Priorities for buying a house vary depending on one’s reason for purchasing a house. The process of purchasing a house is complex and time consuming and consequently it is very easy to get lost in the details. To make sure that you stay on track and don’t lose sight of your goal, it makes sense to have a written list of priorities that are essential to you and your loved ones. This will also help your realtor understand your needs better. Once you have these priorities jotted down, you can use it to eliminate houses that won’t work for you and compare those that will.
Read on to help you judge what things you should consider when looking for a new home. This list will help you rank your priorities in order of importance. Also, if you are making this purchase with someone, make sure to sit with them and agree on the list of things you want in the house.
Location Location Location!
Make a list of things that you visit daily, for example, work, school, shopping, recreation, place of worship, friends and family. Does your prospective home have easy access to the main road? What is the traffic like? Within your neighborhood would you prefer a location near the main entrance, or would you prefer a location that’s further into the development? Talk about your preferences and ask your realtor if certain lot locations bring a higher purchase price.
How big is the lot?
When looking at the same neighborhood, the lot sizes are going to be fairly similar. Your preferences might be limited to location and shape. Some lots could be circular; some could be rectangular, and some could be irregular in shape. If you’re lucky you might have the option of buying a house with two lots. If you find a house that includes two lots, think about the possibilities. If the second lot is buildable, you could possibly add another building (extra garage, workshop, etc.) or you might split the property, build a second home and sell it, or sell the lot as is. If there seems to be a question about where one lot ends, and another begins, check the lot description and dimensions with your realtor
How many bedrooms do you want?
Thinks about how many bedrooms you need. Most families will want at least two and if you have children you might want more. The number will also depend on whether you want your children to share rooms or have separate bedrooms. Do you also have guests visiting often? If yes, it might be nice to have a separate guest bedroom.
What about your hobbies? An extra bedroom could double up as your craft room, reading nook or gym. You could also use it as an extra storage room or a home office. Carefully think about your lifestyle and decide on the number of rooms.
Number of bathrooms
Before you start looking for houses decide how many bathrooms you will need. Older homes might have only one bathroom. If you need more than one bathroom, check if it is possible to add another. If there is only one bathroom, be sure you can live with that arrangement if remodeling isn’t feasible. Newer homes generally have two or more bathrooms, although some bathrooms might not have a tub or shower.
The size and style of bathroom is important as well. Do you want a bathtub or shower or both? Jacuzzi tubs are popular for relaxing, and some people prefer a shower stall for easy access. If you need a handicap accessible bathroom, you can look for that, or a sizable bath that could be remodeled. Think about the people (including guests) who will be using the bathrooms, and you’ll get a clearer idea of the size and style of bathroom that will work best for your family.
What kind of kitchen layout are you looking for?
Everyone agrees that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where you make great food and gather with your friends and family. Think about whether you will need a gourmet kitchen with lots of counter space, sinks and storage or if a typical kitchen will suffice.
Do you cook? Some people cook every day and then there are others who only visit the kitchen to use the microwave. Some people entertain a lot or have large families to feed. Whatever style of cooking you are into; the kitchen will require a close look. Whatever your preferences in the kitchen, jot them down and discuss them with your realtor so you’re looking for the best option for your family.
The age, style and condition of home appliances
Appliances are costly. Buying appliances to outfit the whole house will be even more expensive. Think about your budget for appliances. Do you want to buy all of these new or would you rather have your home already outfitted with all appliances? If you’re looking for the latter, take the time to estimate the age and condition of each item. Do you have any deal breakers For example, you might enjoy cooking on a gas stove and dislike using an electric range. For some people, these types of differences can be deal breakers. If they are for you, let your realtor know.
You can make an educated guess at the age of the appliances, and your home inspector can report on it later. When looking at a home, don’t assume that all appliances will stay with the house. Check the property listing to see which are part of the purchase and which are not. If most of the appliances and mechanical systems seem dated, you need to be aware of replacement costs.
Age of the house
If you are only interested in new construction, this is irrelevant. However, if you are willing to look at all houses in your price range that meet your basic requirements, you may see homes from several decades. Older homes can have a character that appeals, and they may also need more repairs and upgrades. Make sure you have the time, inclination and budget to enjoy managing these projects.
Building codes change over the years, and it would be good to have a basic understanding of some of the more impactful differences when looking at homes built under a different set of rules. Your realtor might have this knowledge or would know where to find the answers. If you’re looking for a certain vintage and style, you might already be aware of how homes were constructed at that time.
Before even looking, you should determine your price range and get pre-approved for a loan. Buying a single-family home is a huge investment, and there’s always more to it than just the purchase price. Think about how all costs will affect your finances and stick to your decision on price range and mortgage payment.
Seller’s incentive to sell
When looking for homes, you will find that some sellers are more motivated than others. Some people will place their home on the market but don’t really care if it sells or not. If not, they are happy to continue living there and will try again later. With this type of sale, there is not usually much wiggle room on the price.
There are times, however, when a seller is highly motivated to sell. Examples might be: an estate sale, a job relocation and need to move out of state, or someone paying two mortgages and wanting to sell and get back to only one payment. Your realtor will help you determine how motivated the seller might be and how to draft the offer and counteroffers to get the best price.
Unless you’re buying new construction, there is generally quite a list of potential maintenance items. When looking at the house, you are probably making a written or mental list of all the things that could use a little help. They might be repairs, large or small, replacements or additions that would make the house a home.
Some items might be mainly cosmetic, and others might take a lot of time and money to complete. Be sure you write them down and add it up. Is it a reasonable list or would it disrupt your family life or present a financial crunch?
Staying true to your priorities will be important in finding the right home for you and your family. Location, lot size, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen are as important to your enjoyment of the home as they will be for the resale. Understanding the age and condition of the home, appliances and components will help you determine how much work (and money) will be needed to maintain it over time. Once you know this, you can look at possible price offers that could make it a worthwhile investment for you.
You’ll put in a lot of time and effort while looking for the perfect (or close) next home for your family. Be sure to tap into the knowledge and support of your realtor, mortgage professional, and home inspector to guide you along the way.
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Written and published by Propertyeportal Editorial Team with partial credit to HomeIA.