Purchasing a home is a big decision for any person or family. In addition to the financial commitment, you are also committing to a house that will be your home for several years, maybe even a lifetime. How do you know that it's the right house? The size, design, quality, and location of your home will define your future lifestyle and the level of comfort you enjoy with your household. Of course you want to be sure that the house is big enough for your family, beautiful to look at, cozy to live in, and convenient for your daily needs, which means it is also important to consider how those needs and preferences may change over time. Will you love cooking in the kitchen a year from now? Will your family grow beyond the number of bedrooms?
When you know how to make the right decision on a house, there's no need to worry. All you need is a checklist, an understanding of the numbers, and your own sense of aesthetics.
What to Look For in the Perfect Home
- The Right Size
- Your Must-Have Features
- Convenient Design and Floor Plan
- No Serious Maintenance Concerns
- Well-Placed Location
- The Right Price Range
The Right Size and Design for Your Family
Start with your architectural must-haves. Consider how many bedrooms you'll need now and, if your family might grow, how many you'll need in the future. Consider the size of the shared spaces like the kitchen, living room, and back porch. These are the spaces you'll share as a family or host social gatherings, so make sure they feel spacious (with furniture).
Convenient design matters as well. The floorplan and even the cabinetry can shape how much you enjoy a house. Are the hallways narrow or spacious? Does the kitchen feel perfect for cooking, or might it be awkward with your cooking style? Do the windows let in enough sunlight for your liking?
These are important questions to ask when assessing a home you might buy because they will shape every day of your at-home experience.
Keep Your Must-Have Checklist Handy
After the architecture, write down a list of your must-have features. You might require a house with a bathtub (not all have one). You might need a home that has few or minimal stairs. You might be looking for a jack-and-jill master suite to turn the connected bedroom into a nursery. You might absolutely need to have a grassy yard for kids and pets.
Write down your list and use it to assess each home that you consider buying. If you've already got a house you love, make sure that your appreciation for the feel and architecture don't cause you to overlook a missing must-have.
Facing the Hesitation to Make an Offer - When the House is Right
When you do find the perfect house that fits all your needs, wants, and must-haves, it can still be challenging to put down an offer with confidence. Placing an offer is a big commitment, especially with the earnest money to put down should the offer be accepted. Fortunately, you already have the tools to bolster your confidence: your checklist.
Go back to your list. Confirm that the house has the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms. See that your must-haves are covered. Take your wanted-features checklist and see how many this house includes. Finally, walk through the house again. Imagine what your life would be like. Open the kitchen cabinets, explore the utility spaces. Look for reasons why the house might not be perfect. If it's still perfect, then you have an ideal prospect for purchase and you can bid with confidence.
Understand the Numbers Before Making a Commitment
Last but certainly not least, know your numbers. You likely have a house-hunting budget defining the price range of any home you might purchase. Your budget needs to include escrow, the home price, the mortgage interest amount, and the closing costs. Ideally, you'll also have some left over for the move and any minor repairs or upgrades you might want to make upon moving in.
Of course, getting a real idea of the numbers can be challenging. The best way to gain full understanding is by talking to a loan officer. A loan officer is like your personal mortgage assistant who will help you determine the actual price of the home you plan to purchase. If you're deciding between two or three houses, your loan officer can help you compare and contrast the different costs and help find your best financial strategy in bidding, negotiations, and mortgage to make the best use of your home buying budget.