There are a lot more than 10 things that you need to consider when buying a house, but we all need to start somewhere. The idea behind this list is to get you thinking not just about the activity of buying a house, but about how you will live in your new home!
- Where do you work? It might be obvious to you, but I find that not everyone really thinks about how their lifestyle could change by either living close to, or far away from, home. If you work in the city, but are recharged by the country, is there somewhere that you could look that would allow you to commute? If you want to maximize your time at home, have you considered an area close to where you work? Of course, keep in mind that your job situation could change, so you want a location that would allow you to consider jobs in other areas without the necessity of moving.
- What do you do on weekends and evenings? Do you run or walk? You should look at places that have sidewalks or running trails. If you kayak, do you want to be near a lake or river? Is going to the theater your favorite evening activity? Living out in the country might not make this easily accessible.
- Are you handy? Do you want to be handy? You may have dreamed of living in an old Victorian home, but if you hate working on your house, this might not be the right choice for you. Is your dream house near the water? It might require even more upkeep than homes further inland. That might be a great trade-off for you--or not. You need to be honest with yourself about how much time, and money, you have to spend on maintenance of your future home.
- Yard or no yard? For some buyers, a lush yard is a must-have. There are alternatives, however, that you should think about. If you buy in a community that is close to a park, you might be able to get a lot of the benefit without a lot of the expense and time required by a yard. How much of your own green space you need makes a big difference in the type of property you buy.
- Will your living situation change while you own the house? Is this a transitional house for you? Will you start out with a roommate and end up with a spouse and child? Will you have children moving out over time? Does the house suit your empty nest situation or will you want to sell at that point? As you age, will you be able to stay in the house, or is this a house that will be great for a couple of years, but not where you will spend your golden years? Some houses are 3 year houses and others are homes for a lifetime. You don't need to know which one your purchase will be, but for most a 1 bedroom condo does not allow much room for a changing life situation.
- Are you stretching so much that furniture will be a dream? Some people don't mind deferring the pleasure of sitting on a coach and still others like to entertain from day one. Just make sure you understand what your financial picture will allow after you buy your home.
- Where will you be willing to sacrifice? Rarely, if ever, do buyers find a house that is ideal in every way. If you have to compromise, what will you be willing to give up? Closet space for larger yard? Remodeled kitchen for main-level laundry?
- Who has the final say? Are you the sole purchaser of this house? Does a spouse or parent have something to say about the house that you purchase? If you must have agreement from another party, whenever possible, you should see properties together. When things are a good deal and in good condition, they won't wait for you to schedule a second showing!
- Which is more important: Your Stuff or Your Lifestyle? If you have always dreamed of a contemporary condo, then you might need to make other accommodations for the 10 boxes of holiday decorations you move along with you. If you can't bear to be separated from Granny's quilt collections or Uncle Joe's tractor collection, then you should factor space for that into your 'must have' list.
- Are you ready for the responsibility? One thing that we have all learned from the recent housing crisis is that conditions change. When you buy your new home, you should be willing to accept whatever the future brings (to the best of your ability). Don't take out an ARM loan if you can't afford the possibility of a larger payment. Be aware that your homeowners dues will go up. Have a plan for what happens if you lose your job. We can't know every challenge that we might face, but we can create the best possible situation for success by thinking ahead.
Buying a home can be a very exciting, and stressful, time. Thinking about some of these issues before you write the contract will hopefully make owning the home a more satisfying and successful experience!
If you like what you've read, please consider subscribing to my blog by clicking on the Orange RSS button and following the instructions. Thanks!
A GREAT Real Estate experience.
If I can help you, your friends or family buy or sell their next home in Northern Virginia, please let me know!
If you need help with a home outside of Northern Virginia, I have an extensive network of referral agents and will make sure you are working with the best!
The contents of this blog may not be copied or reproduced without the permission of Holly Weatherwax.