A Home Buying Checklist For A Successful Search
Are you searching for the perfect place to call home? With limited options and a shortage of properties on the market it can be hard to make a decision. If your options for a new home are limited it can be easy to pull the trigger too quickly and settle. Don’t. Finding a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life and you should love where you live. Follow this home buying checklist to help you find your dream home.
Question: What is your budget?
You’re going to get good at answering this. First you’ll have to see how much of a mortgage you can qualify for, go through all of your finances thoroughly and make sure you are comfortable with said amount. Will that number allow you to live the lifestyle you enjoy maintaining? The added stress of finances when owning a home can be a juggle to get used to. Make sure you allow yourself enough room to be comfortable. Know your budget, stick to it and let your realtor know they need to respect your budget.
Wants Vs. Needs
Question: Can you set aside what you want for what you actually need?
Make sure you have your wants and needs separated when house hunting begins. It’s easy to get swept up in artificial characteristics like a fancy in home audio system or a home gym but don’t look past the necessities. How does the kitchen function with your family? Can you afford to make updates and how many bedrooms do you absolutely need? Giving up your needs for something superficial will not make you happier. Think for the long haul and don’t forget you can always work towards adding these amenities later.
Question: Are you willing to relocate, what is your preferred locale?
Location plays a huge part in the decision making process of buying a home. You may find a home that ticks all the boxes with a stunning interior but is that all you need? Think about your current lifestyle and what is essential for your well-being. Do you want to be close to quality schools, parks, entertainment, restaurants or the local pool? Is ditching the big city worth a move to a lack of amenities in suburbia? Be aware of what is important to your quality of life.
The commute is another thing to ponder. How far are you willing to drive, bike or walk to your humble abode? An extra 15 minutes driving each way affects your precious personal time. Maybe test yourself to see if the extra commute is worth it for your dream home.
Maintenance + Flip Or Finished?
Question: What is realistic in terms of upkeep and maintenance? Can you handle the renovations of a flip or do you want move in ready?
Could you see yourself doing some work to get your house in shape or is a modern finished home a must have for you. Let your realtor know right away to eliminate wasted time looking at homes that don’t fit your needs.
Alternatively, what is the lifespan of this house for you? Are you looking for a home you’re going to retire in or is this more of a 5 – 10 year plan? Keep in mind purchasing an older home will cost you time and money over the years. Things like, new windows, roof, foundation or electrical are big repairs that can become very costly. Maintenance is also something you want to look at. Will your extremely large home overwhelm you when it comes time to clean. How about the driveway? If it appears to go on forever are you going be able to keep up with snow removal? Some first time homebuyers look past these key elements when house hunting.
Question: Are you prepared to deal with the unexpected?
Of course nobody wants to think about what may impact their home negatively. However, it is an honest question you should ask yourself! Freak natural weather occurrences are happening more and more often lately. If you lose your home or suffer mass damage can you cover most or all of what your insurance company may not. Mother Nature can wreak havoc anywhere, do your research to see if your home can be harmed by, earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires or flooding before jumping in.
What shouldn’t matter?
- Size and furniture fit – Your furniture should not dictate the home you choose, you can always find new replaceable items.
- Cosmetic Appearance – Appliances, paint color and fixtures are an easy and affordable fix.
- Storage Space – This is something to think about but shouldn’t be a deal breaker in anyway. Your storage issues can be fixed and you can always make use of your nearest local storage solution space. This may even be a great opportunity to purge some of your unnecessary items.
- Cleanliness – Walking into a filthy home can be a big turnoff to homebuyers. Unless the home is riddled in mold, the state of cleanliness can usually be reversed. Hire a cleaner before you move in or get your realtor to work it into the closing details.