If you’ve decided to buy a new home, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. You want the best value you can find, of course, but you also want a home that fits your family’s needs. However, there are a lot of homes on the market. If you just ask your Realtor to help you find a three-bedroom, two-bath home in a certain price range, you may spend a lot of time looking at homes that you would never consider buying. You need a home that provides features and amenities that support your lifestyle, hobbies, preferences, and future plans. Before you go out looking, take the time to think about your family’s needs, desires, and preferences. Making a list now can give you a better idea of how to focus your search.
Like it or not, price is an important consideration for home buyers. Decide beforehand how much you are able and willing to spend, and resolve to stick to your budget. Your Realtor or lender can help you choose a price range based on standard guidelines. A general rule of thumb, however, is to limit your monthly payments to a third of your monthly income after taxes.
How much house do you need? How much house do you want? The ideal home for you should fall somewhere between the amount of room you need and the amount you want. Of course you need the basics, but you probably have specific needs that are unique to you. Do you need a dining room for family gatherings, a studio for your art, a recreation room for the children, a big kitchen for your gourmet creations, or a sun room for your tropical plants? Make a list of the things you can’t do without, a list of the things you really want, and a list of the things you would like to have but that aren’t deal-breakers.
Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
The moment you think of them, you know instantly how many bedrooms and bathrooms you really need. Try to limit your search to homes that have the right number. If you settle for a home that doesn’t have enough bedrooms or bathrooms, you will have to deal with the shortage every day you live there. On the other hand, if you choose one that has too many, you are likely to pay extra for them. Additionally, you will have to, furnish those rooms, maintain them, and heat or cool them.
Style and Amenities
Take a moment to think about your lifestyle. Are you a formal person? If so, you may prefer a traditional floor plan with a separate dining room and a formal living room. If you are more laid back, you might want to focus on open floor plans with features such as great rooms that combine cooking, eating and living areas. Some families will make good use of a backyard deck and pool. Others will find them more of a burden than an advantage. Think about features you have loved in your other homes. Also think about features that you hated or never used. Let your Realtor know what sort of floor plan you want and which features your family finds important.
Generally, the right house in the wrong neighborhood is worse than a less desirable house in the perfect setting. It won’t do you any good to buy that mini farm you’ve always wanted if you end up spending all your time traveling back and forth to work in the city. On the other hand, if you crave privacy and a big lawn, you won’t be happy in the city even if it means you can walk to work every day. Look for neighborhood amenities that fit you or your family’s lifestyle. For example, look for a community park if you have small children, or pedestrian-friendly streets if you like to walk to the store or the library.