If your idea of what happens during the process of buying a house looks something like it does on TV, you might be in for a surprise. For most people, house-hunting is significantly less dramatic.
It starts with the decisions you make as to when you’re financially ready, what you can afford, and where you want to live. From there, you can start the search on your own or hire the services of a real estate agent.
Once the hunt is on, the fun begins! This is where all those TV show-watching days could pay off. But TV doesn’t give you all the ins and outs of real life.
Before you head out to find your perfect home, check out these seven house-hunting factors that you need to be aware of.
1. One Location Does Not Fit All
You probably have a general area in mind where you want to live. If you’re looking into a specific neighborhood because that’s where “everyone” is, you might want to dig a little deeper.
Your home’s location is crucial to your happiness for the entire time you live in the house. Make sure the neighborhood you’re shopping in really does fit your lifestyle.
Check out sites like NeighborhoodScout to gauge the satisfaction of the area. Crime statistics, growth trends, and other important information is a click away. It’s worth your time to research ahead before you buy.
2. Ease of Access
Right now, you could be in the best shape of your life. Walking that half-mile to the mailbox is cake! But think about your personal situation and the future.
Are there stairs or other obstacles that could be a problem for people with disabilities who visit you often? How easy is it to get to your property?
It’s a tough thing to think about, but necessary. Maybe your four-wheel-drive truck can get up that hill, but will the EMS services, your mother-in-law, and your best friend?
3. Alternatives to Traditional Homes
Our default search settings are usually the traditional houses, but there are other alternatives that are just as good. Manufactured homes today are less pricey but still durable and attractive.
If you can’t find your dream home in the neighborhood you’re looking for, or in your price range, a manufactured home could be the solution. These are typically cheaper. You can purchase your property anywhere you want and have your home placed there.
Manufactured homes also give you a lot more options when it comes to designing your interior. A traditional home is set. What you see is what you get. In a factory-built house, you get to choose many of your preferences.
You’re investing in a house. It’s quite possibly the biggest investment you’ll make in your life outside of your children and education. You want it to pay off in your favor!
With that said, certain things in a home can make or break how quickly you earn equity in your new home. The house doesn’t have to be perfect if you can do a few renovations and boost the value.
Some of the top return-on-investment DIY projects include:
- Bathroom remodeling
- Adding a deck, patio, or extra room
- Replacing windows with energy-efficient designs
- A landscaping overhaul
Try to see each prospective house as a potential DIY project. Is there one that you fall in love with everything but the bathroom? Or could you add that extra bedroom later?
These minor issues can get you a cheaper house with a lower interest rate and still boost your equity later.
5. The Kitchen’s Accessibility
Every home is built around the kitchen. Even if you’re not a big cook, you’re going to have to navigate your way through the room. Washing dishes, storing food, and drinking your daily cup of coffee are made easier with a spacious kitchen.
This is particularly important if you do like to cook and eat at home. Check out the appliances, cupboards, and storage room. There’s almost nothing worse than a cramped kitchen with no counter space when you’re cooking a great meal!
6. Bathroom Foundations
Are you a bath or a shower person? If you have strong preferences towards one or the other, check the bathroom before you buy.
Bathroom fixtures can be replaced, but the foundation of the room isn’t as easy to revamp.
Does the shower or tub seem like something you’ll be happy with? If you decide to remodel, will what you envision going in its place fit without pricey renovations?
Small bathrooms that are used by multiple people are okay at first. Over time, they’re going to drive you crazy. Think about your daily routine and make sure the bathroom size fits your lifestyle.
7. Growing Room
When you’re house hunting, where you are currently at in your life is important, of course. But you also need to consider what your goals are for the next five or ten years.
Do you plan to start or grow your family? Will someone be moving out, freeing up space? Do you need a lot of storage room or property to expand your home? Do you want an office for your home business eventually? Or a wall-to-wall library?
Save yourself room to grow in your home. You don’t want to end up changing your targets because you didn’t have the room in your house for what you wanted to do!
Unless you have a professional house hunter tracking down your dream home, like on TV shows, you’re going to have a lot of decisions to make. These seven parts of the process will help you find your perfect place for today and your future!