It’s officially March and with the beginning of spring the home buying season is signaled - follow this list of three critical things to consider when buying a new home. These unique criteria will help you miss those pitfalls often regretted by knee-jerk home buyers.
1. Room Number and Size - Think of The Future
Are you a couple that plans to have children? Do you have a parent that may need to move in with you for care in the future? Do you often have guests or family members that stay for extended periods of time?
Seriously consider the amount of space you need - not just now but also in the future. Even if you plan on moving before you add that second child or have a college graduate move home - life happens quickly and you may need more space before you are ready or able to move again.
When purchasing your home - space is key. Give yourself a little wiggle room on space but also think like Goldilocks - not too big, not too small. Just right.
2. You Can’t Remodel Location
Eventually you can change almost anything in your home. Changing countertops, cabinets and can lights are all pretty basic cosmetic finishes. Even adding rooms or other major renovations are almost always a possibility at the buy of a new home. But one thing that can never be remodeled is location.
There is a reason it’s always stated 3 times - location can make or break your homeowner’s experience. Aspects of location you should consider when purchasing your new home include: size and space, neighborhood and schools and land value.
Size and Space
Other things to consider when buying a new home is how much or how little space you will need. You can’t remodel the size of your lot - decide before you buy how much space you can live with or live without. Do you need space from your neighbors or do you prefer minimal yard work and therefore want a smaller lot? If you do want to remodel in the future or add on to your home taking the time to make sure you have the correct amount of space for that will be critical.
Neighborhood and Schools
Another thing you have little to no control over changing when you move is your neighborhood, the culture of the area you live in and the school district you are in. When you are choosing your neighborhood many factors should influence your decisions. The obvious considerations are safety, traffic and residential density. Other less obvious aspects to consider are - the culture of your neighborhood, future growth and general lifestyle in the area.
Think about how living in the this new location will change your day to day. Are being close to your family members or religious community paramount for you? Is it important to you to have more space or do you prefer to be close to restaurant and shopping centers? How will this new location change your commute? (Pro Tip: Drive your new commute during rush hour from your new potential home and see if it’s something you can live with) Is the political and lifestyle tone of the area you live in important to you? Do you find local government is often of favor of things you value? Do you think you could find neighbors you have things in common with?
If you have children of school age or plan to - do your research and check school district lines. Often it is extremely hard to move children out of their assigned districts. If you’re interested in charter schools, see if living in a certain location provides any advantages to getting in. If you intend to use private schooling, see how far it would be to take your children back and forth to school. Being in a desirable school district also directly affects land value in most cases. For homebuyers with children, your neighborhood and school can be one of the most important things to consider when buying a new home.
And of course, consider land value when buying your home. Even if your home meets everything on your checklist, you may be purchasing land in area that is stagnant in value or even falling. Another factor that directly affects this is possible future development in the area. Contact the city and planning and zoning to find out if commercial or other types of residential developments are planned for that area that may affect your home / land value.
Too often, home buyers focus on the floorpan instead of the future day to day and find themselves stuck in a culture or space they are not okay with. The items in the above list are intensely important things to consider when buying a new home.
3. Choose Your Deal Breakers Wisely
No home situation is perfect and any real estate professional will tell you if you wait to find the perfect situation you’ll never buy. What it comes down to is your list of things you can live with and things you can’t. Make a mental or physical checklist of your most desired features and then list by importance. Essentially our buy will come down to deal breakers. Maybe your deal breaker is the style of the home. For others it might be neighborhood or lot size. Identifying and sticking with your deal breakers is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new home. Go HERE to find a fun quiz of home buyer's favorite features by The National Association of Realtors.
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