Buying a home can be a very exciting experience. It is easy to get caught up in the exhilaration and anticipation of a new home and to overlook preferred key components. It's vital to stay mindful of what is really important to you. These 5 facts to consider when buying a home come from my twenty years of experience as a real estate agent working with home buyers. These suggestions will aid in making your next purchase one which you will enjoy for many years.
1. Location, Location, Location
You may have heard it before, but an important factor to consider is location, location location! When buying a home you are first buying the community that it is in. If the same house were placed in different towns the house would have a higher or lower value depending on the town that it is located in. Find out what the town has to offer. Do the schools have what you are looking for in programs and test scores? Do you prefer a vibrant city with a large downtown or a quite country community? How much are the property taxes, and is trash removal included? What does the town and its citizens spend its money on? Reading the local newspaper will give you a good feel for the pulse of the town. Is there a chamber of commerce or recreation committee? Are the roads kept in good repair and is this important to you? Imagine you are spending the afternoon doing errands in your new town. What does that feel like?
2. Not all Square Footage is the Same
Be sure to check the town records to see the listed square footage of the home you are considering. It may be different than what is listed on the home's flyer.The reason for the difference could be that the square footage was recorded before the attic was converted to living space or an addition added. Ask if the finished basement is included in the advertised square footage. It is alright for it to be included as long as you are aware of what the square footage consists of. When comparing the price of the home to other similar homes in the area, it is best to compare homes that are using the same type of space for square footage. Above ground living space should be compared to other homes with the square footage above ground level.
If you would like a more spacious home than is affordable, look for a house that has a basement or attic that can be converted into extra living space.
3. The Floor Layout of Your New Home
The floor plan of a home should meet your personal living style. Where do you spend most of your time while at home? A kitchen is a gathering place for some families. Do you like to cook? If so, a spacious kitchen would be a focus point. Are you the one that holds holiday gatherings? If so, a large dining room may be in order. If you like to entertain, or have young children that you would like to keep in sight, an open concept may be a good choice and is a popular request from many home buyers. A large master bedroom suite may be something important to you. The layout of a home is not something that can be easily changed so consider it carefully. If affordability is an issue, know that you can always sell and buy a larger home as your earnings and savings increase.
4. Take a Compass
If having a house that is bright and sunny is important to you, use a compass to gauge the direction it faces. It could be a rainy or cloudy day, dusk or evening when you are viewing your potential home. If the main part of the house is facing North the house will probably be dark. You should also be on the lookout for tall trees that are in close proximity that will block the sunlight. I would suggest you request a second visit to view the home when the sun is shining.
5. Commuter Traffic
Unless you are from the local area and familiar with any traffic congestion that routinely occurs, a drive during high peak times is advised. Some beach communities have only one or two roads into and out of the area and traffic gets backed up to a crawl during the summer when the weather is warm, especially on the weekends. Homeowners that live in those areas must schedule their comings and goings accordingly. There is no quick trip to the grocery store for dinner. The trade-off may worth it to you. It is just good to be aware of it.
If you are commuting to work, drive the route at the heaviest commuter hours to see how long it will take. A twenty minute drive can turn into an hour and a half when commuter traffic is at its worst. You may be ok with this, but it is better to know and plan for it than to be surprised.
Congratulations on Finding Your New Home!
Before you know it you will be handed the keys to your new home. It is time to organize your move and pack your belongings. I hope these 5 factors to consider when buying a home help you in your search, and I wish you much happiness in your new home!