Do you know the most important item you must consider when looking for a home? For many people, priority No. 1 may be price, neighborhood or number of bedrooms, or possibly some combination of the three. Someone else may list a backyard that can accommodate pets as their must-have feature before they will consider any other criteria.
The point is that you must decide what aspects of a home are most important to you when you are in the market for a new home. Once you prioritize your requirements, you can determine if that one-car garage is a deal-killer for an otherwise perfect home.
You have a lot to consider when buying a home. Not only must you find a property you like, but you must deal with financing, negotiations, inspections, an appraisal, title insurance and a survey. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Schools: According to a recent National Association of Realtors profile of home buyers and sellers, 30 percent of Texas home buyers listed the quality of a neighborhood’s school district as a factor in purchasing a home. That number increases to almost 40 percent for married couples and 55 percent of respondents who have children under the age of 18 living at home who listed the district’s quality as a factor in their decision.
Traffic: If you want to live in a quiet neighborhood where you can work from home in peace, walk the dog, or ride bikes with your kids, you may not want to live on a street with heavy traffic patterns. Sometimes a road can be fairly quiet during most of the day, only to fill with cars during commute times or if a school is letting out nearby. The best way to know for sure is to visit the property at different times of day and on weekdays and weekends.
Landscaping: Do you plan to put your green thumb to use? If so, you want to know if deer or other wildlife pose a challenge to gardens in the neighborhood. Maybe you prefer to limit your time maintaining a yard, so consider what will be required to keep the current landscape healthy or to replace it with lower-maintenance options.
Predicting the future – Any new roads or developments in the area can change your living experience. A view of undeveloped land now could be a new neighborhood, roadway, or multifamily housing in the future. It’s better to find out before you buy a home if the plans for the neighborhood fit in to your view of how you want to live.
Room to grow: If you’re buying with the thought of adding a second-story to the house sometime in the future, building a home office in the backyard, or installing an in-ground pool, find out if the property itself can accommodate what you have in mind. Remember to make sure that zoning or homeowners association rules don’t prohibit your plans, either. These are questions a Realtor can help answer for you.
Bear in mind that no property will be flawless. A qualified home inspector will look for any major defects, giving you time to make an informed decision about whether to continue with the purchase, renegotiate the deal, or terminate the contract.