Before looking for a new home, you and your real estate agent should discuss what you are looking for in a home, your budget, why you want to buy it, and where you would like to live. You should also share information about your lifestyle with your agent to help them better assist you.
Think about what you need in a home. Do you need to be close to public transportation? Do you want a yard? Do you need to be close to your job? What are important things to you in a community? These questions can help you find the right home for you.
Where do you want to live?
Urban or Suburban? One of the most important things to consider when buying a home is its location. The location of a home can affect how much you can afford to spend on it, how long your commute will be, and the school district that your children will attend. When you are deciding where you want to live, ask yourself these questions:
Do you want to live in the city? Cities have a lot of convenience and walkability. You can find many things to do without having to drive somewhere. However, cities are often very busy and noisy. If you want a larger home with a yard, you might want to live in the suburbs. The suburbs are away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but they still have all of the amenities that you need.
Do you need Proximity to your job? How close to your job do you want to be? The average commute today is longer than ever before. If you are willing to drive for an hour, then look for homes near your job. But if you want a shorter commute, then look for homes closer to your job. Keep in mind that future opportunities might require you to move closer to your job.
Do you need access to public transportation? If you need to use public transportation to get to work, school, or your health care provider, make sure that the new home you choose is close to a bus or train stop.
What type of home is best for you?
There are different types of homes that you can buy, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. You need to figure out which type of home is right for you, based on your finances, lifestyle, and stage in life.
Single-family homes are typically the biggest kind of property. This means you have more privacy and space. If you buy a single-family home, you are responsible for everything in it. This takes time and money but you have more control over your home this way and more privacy.
Townhomes can be a good option for first-time homebuyers as they are more affordable than buying a single-family home. Townhomes also typically require less outside maintenance, and many townhome complexes include amenities such as parks and playgrounds. In a townhome you typically will have homeowner’s association billed assessments and you will need this information to help you assess your budget.
Manufactured homes are high-quality homes that are built in a factory. They have features like garages, permanent foundations, and built-in porches. They are more affordable than site-built homes, which is good for first-time homebuyers and there are excellent lenders that work with buyers for financing on these homes.
Condominiums are a type of housing where you don't have to worry about maintenance except for your maintenance within the condo, and the exterior is typically handled thru the association. They are usually in cities and have pools, fitness centers, and restaurants close by. You will have to pay a monthly fee for the amenities through the condo association, so remember to include that when you are figuring out how much you can afford.
Your Must-Have List
When you decide what kind of house you want, figure out the things that are most important to you. Write down what your "must-haves" and what would be a deal breaker. This will help you when looking at houses and make the process easier. Also, think about your needs now and how they may change in the future. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices, so make a wish list to help you focus on what is important to you.
Can you work from home? What type of workspace will be required for that?
Is a garage a necessity? How many spaces do you need?
Do you have the time and money to care for a yard, or do you prefer a low-maintenance home?
Think about where you like to shop, where your children will attend school, where you work, where you worship, and where your friends and family live.
Do you use public transportation daily?
Do you bike to work?
Does driving on a major expressway bother you?
Would you like to live close to a gym? Or would you like to have views of water or mountains?
Think about the number of bedrooms you need versus how many you want.
How many bathrooms? Full or half?
Would you like a separate dining room, formal living room, basement or attic?
Is it important to have a large family room, home office or library?
Would you like a large yard, and would it need to be fenced-in?
Think about having a home in move-in condition versus a fixer-upper.
Do you want an updated kitchen and bathrooms, or are you willing to do some renovations?
Are you looking for new construction or an energy-efficient home?
Do you need a handicap-accessible home?
Now that you know how to find the right home for you, start looking for homes in your desired location. Keep in mind that your finances and lifestyle will both be important factors when deciding on the right home for you. Stick to the most important "must haves" for you, and work with your lender & agent to make sure that you stay within budget. With a little bit of research, you will be able to find the perfect home for you and your family.