Before you make a home purchase, it’s important to set a budget and understand your loan eligibility and credit score. But beyond financial abilities, it’s also important to consider the things you’ll really appreciate in a home: the location and neighborhood, its construction and home features, and more.
Some people begin the homebuying journey with a clear image of the ideal home in their minds. Others start out not quite sure what they’ll end up liking the most.
Wherever you fall on this scale, it’s important to both make a list of priorities, and to manage your expectations; it’s common for homeowners to have to compromise some priorities to make way for others.
Here are a few of the main factors you should consider before you start heading out to open houses or home tours:
Consider the location
Where your home is positioned makes a huge impact on your experience in the home. Within the broader category of “location” are more specific details to consider, such as:
It’s always important to check out the neighborhood before making your decision on a home. First and foremost, you’ll want to check crime rates; you wouldn’t want to move your family into an unsafe area. You can begin your analysis with local crime rates, which you should be able to find on the local police department’s website.
You can also tell whether residents feel safe in a neighborhood based on how many people are spending time outside, playing in the park or walking around with their children.
Prospective homebuyers have historically looked at school districts when considering where to buy a home. Neighborhoods in a good school district with affordable homes see high competition, RealtyTrac found. For families with school-aged children, this makes perfect sense: They want their children to get a good education to set them up for success later in life.
But even for those who don’t have children, or don’t plan to, a good school district is a sought-after feature. Homes in these areas tend to hold their value when the market fluctuates – parents will always be home shopping in these areas – which means the resale value will stay up, even when home values perhaps just a few blocks over plummet.
Beyond practical features like safety and education, you’ll likely want to seek out a home in a geographic region you enjoy.
Do you want wide open fields? River or a lake? Are you okay with living on a floodplain? Town or country? Answer these questions before previewing homes.
Seek out specific home features
Beyond where a home is located, there are likely several aspects of the home itself that you’re looking for. Common considerations include:
The number of bedrooms
Sure, your family might just be composed of two people now. But that doesn’t mean a one- or two-bedroom home is the right size.
Consider the potential for growth over the period of time you think you’ll be in the home. The average tenure in a house before selling is a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors.
How likely are you to have or adopt a child in the next 10 years? What about aging parents – do you think you’ll become a multigenerational home? According to the NAR, 11 percent of people purchased a multigenerational home in 2016.
A big back yard is great for grill-outs, trampolines, swing sets or pools. Having some outdoor space to do what you please with is fun. But it’s not at the top of everyone’s lists. Consider whether you want a yard, and if so, how badly. In some areas – like more urban neighborhoods – you may need to sacrifice this feature to obtain a more important one.
How far are you in the homebuying process? Make sure you prioritize your wants and needs when buying a home.
Take the next step by reaching out to Bank Midwest.