What's in this article?
Picking a home is an exciting time for you and your family. Whether you’re upgrading, moving for a job, or just looking for a new location, there are several factors to consider to make sure you’re getting what you want and need.
From size and space considerations to schools and neighborhoods, you need to decide what’s important, what’s possible, and what’s realistic. List out your must-haves, as well as where you are willing to compromise.
Let our list of questions and suggestions support you through what can be an overwhelming process — finding the right home for you.
What’s important to you?
Create a list of what you need your new home to have, inside and out. List the essentials first, then dream components. If you have a current home to compare, that’s a helpful place to start.
If this will be your first home, start with all known considerations, and let this checklist for choosing the right home remind you of the rest.
The location of your new home is the most important place to begin. It’s not just about where you want to live, but it’s based on some objective factors that will determine the value of the home, including:
- Home’s condition
Within these objective qualities lies what you want, need, and can afford. Even if you are moving for a new job and are limited to a certain area, what do you need within that area? Remember that even if you find your “dream home,” you need to check out the location.
Consider whether you are interested in a community that’s close to work, schools, restaurants, and entertainment, or if you don’t mind a bit of a drive and would prefer a quieter, more secluded area with some land to play and garden.
Choosing a good location will give the home a higher chance of increasing in value over time, so if you need to move again down the line you can sell for a good price.
Size and space
How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? If cooking is a big part of your life, do you need a spacious kitchen? Are you looking for a big yard for the kids to run around and play, and you can have a spacious garden? Will your family be expanding in the next few years?
Think about the unique needs of your family to determine what are necessities. If having a yard isn’t important, maybe you’re looking for a location close to local parks and recreation opportunities.
Also, consider whether the home has a garage and storage space.
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What are the possibilities?
If you find the perfect location but are struggling to find the right home, consider what you’re willing to do for that spot. Could you purchase an older home, or a fixer-upper, even if that’s not what you had initially imagined? Or, maybe that’s exactly what you are looking for.
No matter the case, take some time to list out how much you’re willing to fix, what you’re willing to put up with — and any city restrictions — from a home that could take some serious work.
When renovations or updates will be necessary right from the start, get estimates before you purchase so you know what to expect. Read books, ask experts, and get second opinions on what’s reasonable for you to fix on your own, taking your skill level into account.
Plus, consider what happens while you’re doing those renovations — does your family have a place to stay, or are there other rooms in the house they can use? Think about these aspects especially if essential rooms like bathrooms and kitchens need updates.
Make sure to have a good inspector check out the house to evaluate all conditions. Maybe you’re aware the bathroom needs an overhaul, but you didn’t notice the roof is caving in. It’s important to know the full extent of the home’s needs.
You need to be happy with your new home, but the reality often is that there are areas you will need to compromise. This can include adjusting your wants based on budget, location, or size.
What can you afford?
Working with a mortgage loan officer from the start can help you know exactly what you can afford. You should get pre-approved for a loan first so that when you find the home you want, you can quickly make an offer.
If you’re not quite where you need to be, your loan officer can help guide you and make suggestions to get you there, especially if your credit score needs some help or you need to save more for a down payment.
Do you have the essentials?
Don’t get distracted by a home’s fancy bathroom features, expensive countertops, or the current decor. You can add and adjust to your home later, but for now, make sure the essentials are the highest on your list. These include:
- State of heating and cooling system
- Windows and roof condition
- Plumbing condition
- Area safety ratings
- Local school ratings
Do your research, perform a solid walkthrough, and hire a good inspector. If these come out positively, you have a real contender for your new home.
Steps to narrowing down your options
Here are some steps to confidently search for the right home for you.
- Find a mortgage loan officer to determine what you can afford
- Start an online search of homes in the area
- Create a list of homes you’re interested in viewing
- Visit homes that fit your budget, your needs, and your wants
- Stay organized: When the right home is there, you’ll be ready
How a trusted mortgage loan officer can help
The loan officers at home.com by Homefinity will provide the amount of support and guidance you need throughout the process, offering honest recommendations based on decades of combined experience. You will work with your own dedicated professional, for real recommendations based on trust. Request a quote today and we will contact you to set up an appointment.