Whether it’s your first home or you’re looking to upgrade, buying a new home is both exciting and nerve-racking. It may be up to the real estate agent to find the home, but the final decision will belong to you. Consider what you’re looking for, what you’re capable of spending, and what makes you happiest.
So Much to Consider
While moving into a new home is exciting, it’s also quite stressful. There is so much to the process that you’ll often feel you’ve forgotten something or forgotten small details. While no list is complete, this should provide you with a good starting point:
- Realistic budget. Do you know how much you can spend? It’s not usually the number the bank approved you for, but what makes sense within the constraints of your budget. Would you rather overspend and be miserable in your new home or underspend and be happy? Most would take the latter, even if it means missing out on some of their dream features. Be realistic about your budget and don’t let your emotions take charge.
- Resale value. Resale value matters, even if you plan on keeping the home forever. Circumstances change and you can’t be sure where you’ll be in 20 years. Ask your agent what direction the neighborhood is trending in and whether the value will increase or diminish in the coming years. He or she will probably have a good idea of what the resale value will be in the near future.
- Location and proximity. Is the location of the home convenient? Consider how far it is from your job, whether it’s near shopping centers and entertainment districts, and whether it will be convenient to access. While it likely won’t be the deciding factor, proximity to these features can certainly sway your decision in a particular direction.
- Community amenities. If you’re buying a neighborhood, are there amenities included in your homeowner’s fees that you’ll find useful? Many associations have swimming pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, and other amenities readily available. These can provide excellent opportunities to plug into the community and get your children involved.
- Floor plan and layout. People are often too consumed with the curb appeal of a home that they forget their other priorities. Make sure you consider the interior layout of the home, as that’s where you’ll be spending your time. Is the floor plan conducive to easy movement and good indoor-outdoor flow? Some things can be easily changed, but major structural issues are costly and difficult to overcome. Know that the floor plan you get is likely the floor plan you’ll be stuck with.
Next time your agent shows you a home, keep these five things in the back of your mind. By understanding exactly what it is you’re looking for, you’re more likely to find something that satisfies you in the end.