Just as it is with two hearts, the coming together of a home and a home buyer can feel like a mystifying thing, a deep connection that can’t be reduced to sheer numbers and data. Having a plan before the home search begins can help you to know when you’ve met the right one. So here are some things for you to keep in mind.
Think Beyond Location and Price
The old saying that “location, location, location” is the number-one factor may be true. And price sure determines a lot. But a home’s features can be just as important as the neighborhood and the home’s price tag. So do a bit of soul searching and ask yourself how you want to live, what features and amenities are important to the way that you live your life. And write it all down. Armed with a list of exactly what you want your home to have will make the search for your perfect match go much easier.
Interior Features to Consider
The kitchen. For many, it is a home’s very heart, where folks tend to gather the most, the space where you welcome guests, and, of course, cook and share meals. Islands are popular features and ones that home shoppers often seek, as kitchen islands provide ample extra counter space above and storage space below. Dining bars also climb to the top of many lists; casual meals in the kitchen can be more common than sit-down dining at a table for those fortunate enough to have dining bars. Double sinks are quite popular. The features you want your kitchen to have depend on your lifestyle. Will you be doing a lot of cooking for a full family or do you have more moderate kitchen needs?
Appliances are big considerations, as they can be costly to replace, especially if they are built-ins as opposed to freestanding. Lots of people look for stainless steel. You can eyeball the ages and conditions of a home’s appliances and later confirm with the home’s inspection. This is true not only of the kitchen appliances but also includes washers, dryers, furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, and more.
Some common interior areas to consider are dining areas such as breakfast nooks and full dining rooms, as well as the number of bedrooms, with a focus on what you want in a master suite; sitting areas, balconies or patios, and walk-in closets are just a few of the enviable features of a fine master suite. Plus consider the number of bathrooms you want and the features you want them to have. Your dream bathroom might include a jetted tub, dual sinks, a heated floor, and natural light from a skylight.
Exterior Features to Consider
Often given only slight consideration with home buyers, lot size can be more important than many realize. How much privacy does your outdoor living space afford? What will you use it for? It’s a good idea to think of your lot in terms of expansion, say, building a shed or a garage, or adding an extra room onto the home. If you have any of these exterior expansion plans in mind, it’s a good idea to check out the local laws and codes that apply.
A front yard is your home’s presentation space, what the world sees and what those entering experience as a first impression. Backyards are more personal spaces, used for leisure time and housework and so should fit with your lifestyle. While some may say bigger is better with outdoor space, keep in mind that the more ground you have, the more you’ll have to maintain. The prospect of yard work might make you rethink lot size.
Keep Energy in Mind
Do you want to cook on a gas stove? Does the home have solar panels? If not, what are the zoning requirements and are there good places to add panels? You’ll want to look at the windows; double and triple-pane windows can significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs. For conserving water, keep an eye out for single-flush toilets and tankless water heaters. If there aren’t a lot of ceiling fans, consider that eight to nine feet above the floor is the optimal position for installing a ceiling fan.
Avoid These Common House Hunting Mistakes
- Don’t look at homes beyond your price range; lust for a house that’s out of your league is a common house hunting mistake that could lead to heartbreak.
- Don’t skip over mortgage pre-approval. Having a pre-approved loan in place makes house hunting much smoother.
- Don’t fall for the first home that catches your eye. Shop around for that perfect match.
- Don’t go it alone — have a broker or a real estate agent with you when you speak with a seller’s agent.
- Don’t insist on perfection. If you love a home overall, you can live with some small imperfections that you can change later.
- Don’t overlook big problems. A fixer-upper might seem feasible, but you never want to take on more home-improvement work than you can handle.
- Don’t skip an inspection. Even if you have a conventional mortgage loan that doesn’t require an inspection, it’s still a good idea to get one.
- Don’t give in to desperation. Just like meeting life partners, finding the perfect home can be a long and bumpy road. Home shopping often takes four months or longer. Patience will pay off.
- Don’t jump to make an offer. It might be love at first sight, but best to sleep on it, and do some research such as checking out the neighborhood.
- Don’t dawdle. While you don’t want to leap before looking, you also don’t have the luxury of time in today’s red-hot real estate market. So do your due diligence as soon as you find the home you want and then act. If not, someone else will surely snag your dream home.
And when you do finally meet up with that house you know is right for you, City Lending will be there for all your mortgage needs to ensure that you live happily ever after in your perfect home.