More than half of all American families own their primary residences. Many others are looking forward to the happy prospect of owning their homes some day. Undeniably, there are many advantages of owning a home. But, buying a house is the single greatest financial investment most people will make in their lifetime, so it is important to tread carefully to ensure that when you are ready to purchase your home, you purchase the right home for you and your family.
Following are some things to think about, before you begin house hunting, that will help make your search for the right home smooth and successful:
1. Your requirements (present and future): How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Are there any family members with special needs? What kind of accessibility will you need to major highways and/or public transportation? Asking questions like this in advance, and limiting your search to homes that meet your basic requirements, will allow you to spend your time and energy most productively.
2. Your aspirations: After you determine what you need in a home, it is nice to ask yourself what you want in a home. The kind of community you would like to join; the types of schools in the area; the cultural resources you desire for your family; the type and size of the property you have in mind; and the amenities you would like to have in your new home, are all important factors in selecting a home for your family. Making a list of your aspirations, and prioritizing the list, in order of what is most important to you, will help you narrow your search to homes that have the most similarities to your ideal home.
3. Your taste: What kinds of homes do you like? Are you drawn to newer, more contemporary homes or older, more traditional Tudor or Victorian architecture? Would you like to live in a ranch, split-level, or colonial home? You want to love the home you choose, and knowing what you like and what you don’t, will allow you to focus your search on houses that appeal to you.
4. Your budget: How much money have you set aside for a down payment, closing costs and the unexpected expenses associated with purchasing a home? How much of a mortgage can you comfortably carry on a monthly basis, taking into consideration property taxes, insurance, utilities, and other maintenance expenses? Knowing your budget can help you stay focused on houses that you can afford, and will greatly reduce the stress of making such a large investment.
In addition to the above guidelines, there are other things that can help minimize the stress of searching for your dream home. It is helpful to stay as organized as possible through the process of searching for a home. Keep a list of properties you have previewed or inquired about and include your thoughts on each property. Also, try to give your search the attention that it deserves, set aside enough time to see each property and to ask any questions you have; and, if at all possible, leave young children with a baby-sitter or a family member when you look at properties, so that you can focus your attention on the necessary details.
Choosing the right home for you and your family can be a difficult process. Being assisted by a reputable, trustworthy, and experienced Realtor is crucial in helping you make a sound decision. Pick a real estate professional who is not only responsive to your needs and circumstances, but also one who is familiar with the area and has an established track record and references from satisfied clients. Your Realtor should understand your requirements, your aspirations, your taste and your budget and should show you homes that meet the guidelines you have laid out. The right Realtor will work closely with you and will be able to recommend other professionals you will need throughout the home-buying process, such as mortgage brokers, inspection engineers, and attorneys. Your Realtor will coordinate and oversee all aspects of your transaction.
Good luck and happy house-hunting!!!