In our recent posts, we’ve talked about the factors that go into deciding just how much house you can (or want to) afford and considering how much maintenance a house might require, we’ll take a look at the factors you’ll want to consider as you come up with your must-have list for your house.
Are you looking for a single-family home in a neighborhood? Or a condo in the heart of the city?
What about a fixer upper? New construction? Somewhere in between?
Will this be your primary residence? Or are you looking for a vacation home? Perhaps a rental property?
Sorting through the answers to these questions will inform many of the other decisions you’ll have to make down the line.
If you’ve already decided on a condo, you probably know that you’re looking at less square footage than if you’re wanting a single-family home. (That’s not always true, but often is.)
With a home, you’ll need to decide how big a house you’re looking for. How many bedrooms do you need now? What about in the future?
Do you plan to expand your family?
Or are your kids grown, and you’re hoping they’ll be returning soon for regular visits with your grandkids in tow?
Might your parents or in-laws need to move in in the not-so-distant future?
Some changes you can’t anticipate, but some things you certainly can factor in as you’re putting together your list of must-haves.
Location, Location, Location
If you’re wanting to be in the heart of the city, think about your favorite places to go: restaurants, bars, clubs. Do you want to be near major events, or maybe not so close that traffic and noise will be an issue? The important thing is to consider as much as possible so you can make a fully informed decision.
If you have young children, schools are probably important to you. You can find a letter grade for area schools online. But you can go beyond that and make an appointment and go visit the school in your desired neighborhood.
Is it important that your commute to work each day be just a few minutes? Or are you willing to drive a bit to get more house or to be zoned for a particular school?
Do you want a quiet neighborhood or a street where kids roam up and down, playing with their friends?
No one can answer these questions for you. And each decision may require a tradeoff on another factor. A real estate agent can help you understand the tradeoffs you’ll have to make in your particular town or city.
Do You Want a Yard?
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of growing your own vegetables and herbs in the backyard. Maybe your idea of the perfect house includes a wooded lot and lots of flowers. Maybe you just can’t wait to play tag football on the lawn with the extended family on Thanksgiving.
No matter what your dream, you’ll want to think about how big a yard you want and how much time, energy, and/or expense you’re willing to take on for its upkeep.
Again, the important thing is to consider what you want and be realistic about what it entails. The last thing you want is to wish you’d remembered how much you’d always wanted a yard after you buy a condo or townhouse – or that you wish you’d considered how much time it was going to take to mow your two-acre lot.
NOTE: This is the third in a series of posts addressing some questions you want to ask yourself when you’re looking for a home. The posts have been condensed from an eBook we wrote on the topic. If If you want even more detail, you can find the eBook here.