For many, purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions they will make in a lifetime. Because of the financial commitment involved, finding the right home can sometimes become an emotional journey as buyers try to find a home that doesn’t just meet their needs but also is a home that they can love. Buying a house means so much more than just a roof over your head - it is a sanctuary from the outside world, a place where memories are made, and dreams are realized.
While searching for a new home, it is important to try to keep emotions in check. A home that doesn’t meet your needs can never truly be your “dream home”- no matter how much you might love it upon a first walk-through. Answering these five questions can help you determine if the home you are looking at today will be the one you’ll love for years to come!
1. Does the Home Meet your needs?
Before you begin your search, make a list of non-negotiable Must-Haves - such as a minimum number of bedrooms and baths, or a certain amount of usable outdoor space. As well as a Wish List or a Nice To Have List. Perhaps you need space for a dedicated home office – or maybe two offices. If you need a garage, an in-law suite, or room for pets- these are options that often are not available in all homes. Carefully weigh what requirements are strictly needed – these would be on the Must Have list.
Maybe you love entertaining and having a dedicated game room or an outdoor space to host family and friends would be on your Must Have list. Or maybe it is just enough to have the space, but you are willing to put in the sweat equity to create those spaces yourself over the year– then having the space is the Must Have while find a home with the finished space would be on the Wish List.
2. Is the home in a good location?
Location, location, location! There’s more to a home than just the home itself- location is a very important consideration. Do you need a home close to work or school, or is work or learning done remotely? Do you like to be near amenities such as shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Or does something more out in the country appeal to your needs? Do you need to be near an airport or major roadways? Do you want to live near family and friends? A new home’s location needs to suit your lifestyle and needs.
3. Will this home meet your needs today, tomorrow, and further in the future?
Typically, when buying a home, to earn some equity in your home buyers should plan to stay in a home at least five years. This commitment means keeping an eye to the future as you put together your list of wants and needs. What you need today may not change much in the next six months to a year, but in three to five years, that could be a different story. Perhaps your family is growing, or becoming empty nesters isn’t too far down the road. Maybe school district isn’t a concern at the moment, but could be within the next few years. While you can’t always predict everything life has in store for you, you can do your best to plan and take precautions to hopefully prevent finding yourself in a home that’s too small or lacks key features you might need. For example: while a pool might qualify as a nice addition today, you may not want the added responsibility as the children get older and are no longer around to use it. Purchasing a home that only fits your current lifestyle may leave you wanting more in the future!
4. Are there any potential issues you’ll need to fix?
When you’re walking through a home for the first time, keep an eye out for repairs or changes you’ll need to make
. While you’ll want to get an assessment from a qualified home inspector, it’s essential to keep necessary fixes in mind when considering a home. It’s also good to know if you are able to make the repairs yourself or if hiring contractors will be required. These are all things that need to be taken into consideration when determining whether or not this is the right home for you.
5. Does the price fit within your budget?
Love at first sight is powerful, but it’s also key to remember the practical side of things — and that means your budget
! If the home you love falls outside of your price range, you may want to consider looking elsewhere. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a great first step in the home search process. The pre-approval will let you know the price range you should be searching in and give insight as to what will be needed if you go over that price point.
Finding the right home can seem like a daunting task when you consider the needs that must be met and the wants you’d like to satisfy. Keeping focused and being realistic is key. Falling in love with a home doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right one for you: follow through and ask the right questions before you sign on the dotted line. After all, it is going to be your home for year to come and home is where the heart is.