When hunting for your next home, it’s your job to understand fully what it is that you want. Your real estate agent can help you find homes that fit the parameters you set, but only you know what you truly want and need in a home.
Before you head out to begin looking (or even if you’ve already browsed a few websites and neighborhoods), be sure to answer these all-important questions to determine exactly what type of house will fit your needs and your budget.
1. What is the highest price I’m willing to pay?
If you already have a number in your head of the highest price you’d be willing to pay, run it through a mortgage calculator to find out if you can afford the monthly mortgage payment or not. Don’t forget to add in insurance and taxes, and any other fees that could drive up that monthly payment.
2. How much house do I need?
How many bedrooms do you want? What about bathrooms? Maybe you want a home office space or a garage. What about the yard? Do you have small children or plan to expand your family in the coming years?
These are all things to consider when determining how much house you’ll need. Don’t underestimate or think you’ll “make do” with less home than you actually need. You won’t be happy for very long if you do.
3. Where do I want to live?
Where your home is located is one thing you cannot change, so you must consider this aspect carefully before deciding. How far is your commute to work? What’s the school district’s reputation? Are there amenities nearby like entertainment, restaurants, and parks? What about flooding? Is the home located on a flood plain? If so, you’ll need to purchase flood insurance in addition to your homeowner’s insurance.
4. How updated does the home need to be?
If you’re the DIY type, you may be considering an older home that needs a little work. This is great, but how much work are you willing to put in or how skilled are you at the various projects that need to be done? If you’re not the fix-it type or you aren’t willing to spend the money to hire a contractor, you may want to consider a newer home or one that’s been updated recently.
5. What features do I absolutely need to have?
Most people have specific needs and want in a home. These features are non-negotiable. Make a list of these things and give it to your agent so she can start narrowing the list.
Do you love cooking and need a large kitchen? Perhaps you love to entertain, so an oversized patio is a must. Maybe you’re a woodworking hobbyist who needs as much garage space as possible. Whatever the case, be sure you know which features you can live without (if you have to) and which ones are deal-breakers.