Each year, millions of Americans make their way into a new home, whether it’s a brand-new construction or a house that belonged to another family for generations. It’s a process that requires a lot of thought and planning as it’s typically the biggest financial decision that you’ll make during your lifetime. Because of this, there are going to be a lot of second-guessing and questions that you’ll want to ask yourself during the process.
Let’s take a look at some of those questions so that you’re confident that you’re finding the ideal home. Once you’ve comfortably gotten an answer to these five questions, it should be easier to breathe a sigh of relief and get the keys to your new house.
City, Suburbs, or Rural?
It’s an old saying that the most important part of real estate is location, and where you want to live is the most important question that you should be asking yourself. Think about your work and family situation while shopping for homes. Do you live alone and don’t need a lot of room but have a solid income and work in the office? Then you might want to look into homes that are located within the city to make the trip easier.
The suburbs can offer lower prices and a lot more room but can require a long commute to work unless you’re hybrid or remote. For those who are fully remote (which is a growing number of people), you may want to consider living in a rural area. Housing is going to be much more affordable and you’ll get plenty of extra space that cities simply can’t offer. Throw in the fact that you won’t have to pay for monthly parking that costs nearly as much as a rural mortgage, and you can see why country living can be enticing.
How Much Can You Afford?
We can talk all day about the advantages and disadvantages of living in the city, suburbs, or rural areas, but it really comes down to how much you can afford. These days, houses are being scooped up left and right with cash offers that often surpass the asking price. Because of this, it’s a cutthroat real estate market and simply putting down the minimum payment for a mortgage might not be good enough.
With that said, try to save up as much money as you can and start shopping for houses that are within your price range. Do a breakdown of your monthly finances and see how much is left over. It typically doesn’t cost anything to speak with a mortgage banker to see what’s going to realistically be in your price range. You may have more purchasing power than you thought because of good credit and debt-to-income ratio, or you may realize that renting for a couple more years is the right call.
What Needs To Be Done To The House?
You may find the house of your dreams and it’s within your price range and the right location, but there could be some hidden costs that will truly make it a place you want to live in. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always make sure that an inspector goes through the house to see if any expensive repairs have to be made. Everything from the foundation to a busted water heater can add up quickly, putting the final cost well above the market price.
When we talk about what needs to be done, we’re talking about the aspects of the home that need to be done. Things like replacing curtains or reupholstering shouldn’t be taken into account because those are optional costs that you can take your time with.
Will We Have (More) Children?
Plans can always change when it comes to starting or growing a family, but if you have made long-term choices about having children, then your house should be able to accommodate that. Those who already have children will want to make sure that there are enough bedrooms and bathrooms so that everybody is comfortable, and having a spare bedroom couldn’t hurt.
That extra bedroom could be used for a lot of beneficial things. Either one day you decide to have another child and it becomes their bedroom. If not, then that room can simply be used for storage or converted into a recreation room or home office. Obviously, more bedrooms are going to mean more money, but it’s always better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
What Is Your Biggest Neighborhood Need?
We all want to live in a neighborhood that has low crime rates, but outside of that, what’s the most important aspect of the neighborhood that you want to live in? Do you want to have easy access to the freeways? Do you want to live close to your child’s school or your job? These smaller questions make up the bigger question of your biggest neighborhood need.
Once you determine this, you’ll be able to whittle down the list of houses available pretty quickly. From there, determine your price range and the type of house (along with bedroom and bathroom amounts) and you’ll find your ideal home before you know it.