Looking for a new home is a big project, wherever you are. It’s a large investment and not a purchase to take lightly. Since there’s a lot to consider, you’ll want to know what to focus on and give most of your attention to as you’re searching.
You should get organized; start taking notes and keeping important information and data in a safe place. There will be a lot to take in when you’re touring several different homes, and you may forget what you did or didn’t like if you don’t write it down and talk about it. It could be a long process, so stay positive and know that it’s worth the wait to find the right one.
Price & Overall Lot Size – Start by setting a budget and promise yourself that you’re going to be strict about sticking to it. You don’t want to lose sight of what you can afford and make a silly decision that will hurt you in the long run. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you when you’re house hunting. It’s important you stick to your agreed figures and use logic and data to guide you to the right conclusion. Not only consider the price of the homes you’re looking at, but also the lot size and how much land you’re willing to look after.
Natural Light – Most homeowners prefer a lot of natural light in their space. It may be easier to find when buying a condo that’s up several stories, but it’s also possible to find it in a single family home too. Be aware of how much natural light is available when you’re touring various homes. You could count the windows in each room and notice where the sun hits, or doesn’t hit. You may be okay with a dark basement or bedrooms, but not a gloomy living room. If you find a home you like, see it at different times throughout the day to get a feel for the lighting.
Number of Bedrooms – Don’t get so excited about a place that you forget to count the number of bedrooms or consider where people will sleep. Also, think about if you’re going to be expanding your family and if you’ll need additional room for any new children. Decide if sharing bedrooms are acceptable, or if you want each family member to have their own. Walk through the master bedroom and make sure it has all the bells and whistles you desire. You may quickly find what your deal breakers are and stop seeing homes that don’t have exactly what you need.
Bathroom Situation – Be honest about the bathroom situation. You should try to avoid loving a new home so much that you settle on the bathrooms and end up disliking your house months later when you move in. Make sure there are enough bathrooms and that they’re big enough for what your family requires. Think about where guests will sleep and which bathroom they’ll use when staying with you. Consider if they’re updated enough for you, or if you picture yourselves having to redo them shortly.
Condition of Kitchen – If you love to cook, then the kitchen is going to matter a great deal to you. Find homes that have a big enough kitchen, with plenty of counters and shelf space, and that is modern enough for you. The kitchen gets the most foot traffic in the home, so it’s no surprise you’ll want it looking fabulous. Check out the floors, countertops and cabinets when deciding if it’s a good fit for you. Think about what updates you could do yourself versus what you’ll have to call a contractor in for and how much it’s going to cost.
Neighborhood & Schools – You’ll want to look into the neighborhood and overall rating of the schools when house hunting. Try to drive around, talk to neighbors and go shopping in some of the stores. You should take note of what’s within walking distance and which locations you’ll have to drive to. Read about the schools online and talk to parents who’ve had kids there or whose kids are currently attending school there. Even if you love the house, the neighborhood, people and schools matter a great deal and can make or break your decision.
Inspection Report & Any Required Updates – Once you’ve made a choice and received an inspection of your potential home, you need to review what matters are urgent and take note of the ones that can wait. Decide what you’re willing to fix and what corrections you want the owners to make before they move out. Don’t get too excited yet because this could be the point in the process where the deal falls apart if you’re unable to negotiate and come to an agreement. Once again, don’t let your emotions take over. Stay levelheaded and remember this is your hard-earned money you’re talking about.
Gut Feeling – Your gut feeling isn’t logic, and it’s not your emotions, it’s a sensation you get about whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. Listen to what your gut is telling you about each decision you have to make and use your intuition to come to a conclusion based on that feeling. When it doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore what your mind and body are trying to tell you. It’s possible you’ll want a house very badly, but your gut will tell you no. Later on, hindsight will show you that what you did was the right choice and you’ll understand why you leaned a certain way.
House hunting sounds like fun at first, and it can be, but it’s also a lot of work. Use this guide to help keep you focused on what to pay attention to as you work on finding your dream home.Stick to your budget and what you know you want in a home, and be patient. Eventually, the perfect option will fall into your lap, and you’ll be moving in. Do it the right way, and you’ll have no regrets.