Buying a home requires a lot of close scrutiny. You can tour several homes until you find one that is perfect for you. However, it can also be overwhelming. There are many different styles of homes to choose from, along with trying to find a neighborhood that you want to live in. While some aspects of a home require surface level consideration, others require much more. You can change the paint scheme, but you can't change what schools your children will attend.
So, where do you start? What should you be looking for when you are touring different homes?
1. Is it affordable?
You need to find a home that you can afford. If you spend all of your money on your mortgage, there isn't going to be anything left for maintenance (or even to enjoy life). You want to live comfortably with what you bring home now.
2. Would you remodel?
If you are thinking about remodeling a home, you should think about that when you are trying to figure out if a home is affordable. If you are going to want to remodel the kitchen, you may be looking at $30,000 or even more for renovations. You aren't going to want to wait until the house is paid off to take a loan out for that, so you want to add that into your original budget. You are going to want to spend less on a home where you are going to put significant money into a remodel to make sure that you aren't house poor.
3. Are the appliances new?
You should always find out how old the appliances are when you are looking at a home. If everything is pretty new (less than a few years old), you can feel confident that you won't have to spend a lot of money replacing them right away. However, if they are 5 to 10 years old, you are going to want to make sure that there is room in the budget to buy new ones as they wear out.
4. What about the HVAC unit?
The same should be said about the HVAC unit. If it is over 10 years old, you are going to be replacing it sooner instead of later. This can set you back several thousand dollars, so it is important that you budget for that, if you buy that home.
5. Do you like the location?
Many people go into a search knowing where they want to live, whether it be as specific as a city, district, or neighborhood. Not only that, but they may have small children and want to be within walking distance to a park. Others aren't so picky, but it is still important that you feel safe, comfortable, and happy wherever you end up buying a house. Spend some time walking down the streets and looking around to make sure that you could be happy in your new home.
6. Do you have children?
If you have children or are thinking about it, school district is everything. You may want your children to go to the same school that you did, or try and get them into a top school within a certain district. Talk to other parents who have children in the school district to make sure that you can confidently send your children to that school.
It may feel overwhelming once you start looking at homes. However, it doesn't have to be. You should create a list of your top priorities when it comes to selecting a home for yourself and your family, and make sure that the top criteria are met at the time you make your purchase.