Here are the main things to pay attention to during your home search in order to find the right home for you:
There are many online tools, programs, portals that can assist you with your home search. While we recommend hiring a professional real estate agent these online tools are a good place to start looking at what the market has to offer.
These online portals are great places to view properties and get a feel for what the current market looks like. From there you can determine what you might be able to afford and you can narrow down your search and really see what type of properties you have access to.
Choosing the right neighborhood is an essential goal in finding the perfect home. If the neighborhood is inconvenient or doesn’t match your lifestyle then chances are you will not enjoy living in that area. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a neighborhood.
Location: The number one item you should look at is the location of the home in regards to your work. The commute to and from work should play a big role in deciding whether or not you want to move forward with a home. The cost of gas, car maintenance or public transportation may have you second guessing a home. Even the perfect home loses its “WOW” factor if you have a miserable commute that you will have to deal with everyday.
Lifestyle: Living in the suburbs when you enjoy the buzz and entertainment options of an urban area probably won’t work for you in the long run. And if you want to raise a family in an area with more open space, the city probably won’t be a good fit. Ultimately, you need to decide what lifestyle you want now and consider how things could change in the near future.
Schools: Not everyone has kids. And if you don’t you should still take schools into deep consideration. Schools are essential to families that have kids in attendance. If you have kids you will want to make sure that the schools meet your standards and that they will be able to provide a suitable education for your children. If you don’t have kids you will still want to consider what time schools start so you don’t get caught in a traffic jam while trying to leave for work or when you are coming home and parents park their cars outside of your house waiting to pick up their children.
Neighbors: Finding neighbors that share a similar lifestyle can increase your enjoyment of the neighborhood and lead to a better community connection. For example, are you bringing young kids into a neighborhood with college students? That might not be the best fit. We recommend hanging around the area once or twice and people watching to see what type of neighbors you might have if you choose to move into the neighborhood.
Now that you have scouted out the neighborhood and determined that it is a good fit, it’s time to make sure the home meets your standards and that it has what you're looking for.
Size: Square footage is a great starting point. If you have 4 children and a few pets then a dinky 1,000 square foot space is likely not the space for you. However, you will need to consider more than just square footage in a potential home. How you use the space will help you determine if it is a good fit or not.
Floor plan: Unless you are going to gut the place or do a bit of remodeling then the home should have enough bedrooms and bathrooms that meet all of your needs. This means taking into consideration the future family additions and the extra space they could need in the years to come. Also, think about how everything flows from one room to the next. Open floor plans can make a small space seem bigger than it truly is.
Cost of repairs and upgrades: During a transaction there will be a period for requesting repairs. This is not something that the seller has to oblige to. In fact, the seller can counter back and tell you they are doing no repairs and selling it as is. You will need to determine if this home is the right home and if it is you should think deeply about repairs or upgrades that you would want to do to the home once purchased. While things like paint and carpet can be a quick, easy fix, kitchen and bathroom renovations are something else entirely.
Finding a dream home doesn’t necessarily mean having to meet every single requirement on your checklist. In fact, it often means compromising in a few areas in order to get the things that are most important to you. So whether you have to let certain cosmetic imperfections go, or opt for a better neighborhood over an extra bedroom, don’t expect total perfection.
If you follow these guidelines and carefully weigh the things that are most important to you, then you’re sure to end up with a home you’ll love.