Now that you’ve decided to buy a home and determined how you’ll finance your purchase, it’s time to start looking! The process should be fun and exciting, and you can keep it that way by having a good blueprint of what you’re looking for. Spend some time brainstorming your wants and needs when it comes to your new home. Here are some good ideas to start with.
Location and Placement
There’s really only one thing you can’t change about a home, and it’s the location! There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to purchase your next home. Aside from finding a neighborhood where you could see yourself for the next several years, consider how far the home will sit from your job and other places you frequent. This may be more important in larger cities where traffic is heavy and commutes can be long.
Within a particular neighborhood, it’s also a good idea to consider where the house sits on the street. If the home sits near a major street or thoroughfare, expect high traffic and considerable noise. Find which routes people may take through the neighborhood to get to businesses or schools and try to avoid them if possible — or at least consider that in your offer.
Whether you’re buying a home or looking for a college apartment, there are some things you’ll always look for when moving. But along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, think about how much space you need, both in square footage and exterior space to roam. Some buyers prefer a modest footprint due to financial constraints or the desire for a cozy home filled with useful space. Others — like millennials who have spent a year sheltered in their tiny apartment — like the idea of having ample extra space for their family and houseguests.
The layout of the home can also tell you a lot about how your experience living there will be. Check on how private the home and its windows are from the neighbors. What are the views like? On what sides of the home does the sun set and rise? Does the home sit higher or lower than others in the area?
Needed Repairs and Updates
Your future home will probably require at least some investment in upgrades — most homes do. But carefully consider buying a home in need of immediate repairs like a leaky roof, unsolid foundation, or failing HVAC. For these major repairs, you’ll need major moolah — so just be prepared for your savings account to take a hit.
If you’re like most Americans a bit strapped for cash, try to find a home with few repairs needed. You can paint walls inexpensively when you have time, but you can’t put off a broken heater in the dead of winter.
The kitchen is one of the most heavily used areas in a home and should also be one that you pay close attention to when looking at potential new homes. Although you can always remodel, it can be expensive and stressful to tear it up shortly after moving in. Either find a home with a kitchen you love, or make sure you have the available space — and budget — for an overhaul.
Windows and Lighting
Like location, it can be hard to change the amount of lighting in the home. If possible, visit your potential new home during various times of day to see where the natural light comes in — and how much can be seen by your neighbors. You may be able to add lighting and windows at a later time, but that involves some major renovation work.
You’ll also want to think through your preferences when it comes to a yard. Some prefer a large yard with meticulous landscaping, while others may opt for a lower-maintenance lawn. Again, this is something you may be able to modify after you buy but may be difficult or come at a great expense — and you can’t necessarily make a small yard larger.
Wants vs. Needs
It’s not likely you’ll find a home that meets every single one of your criteria. But, by putting some thought into what you really need in a home and what would be a bonus, you’ll clear the path for a fun, exciting search for your new home.
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