3 Questions to Ask Yourself While House Hunting
1. How long will I live here?
If you’re in the market for a home, it’s likely because your circumstances have recently changed in some way.
Maybe you got promoted and are making more money. Perhaps you and your significant other had a child and need more space. Whatever your situation is, it’s likely to change again.
The question is, when?
How long are you planning on staying in this home? What else about your life may change during this timeframe? Are you interested in having more children? How many bedrooms will you need? Is a puppy in your near future? If so, a yard would be beneficial.
As you shop, be sure to include any features that you may need during the time you plan to live in the home, even if they aren’t things that you need now.
2. What am I looking for in an ideal neighborhood?
Everyone knows that the first rule of real estate is “location, location, location.”
While the features of your home are important, they can be updated or replaced. A neighborhood is much harder to change. A good Realtor will be an expert on your local area. Work with him or her to find a neighborhood that meets your needs.
The first thing to consider is the impact of a location on property value. What is the current value of your home? Is any future development planned nearby? A new high-end shopping area will likely add to your home’s value, while a bus stop or industrial park may lead to a decrease in the value of your home.
Amenities are also important to your quality of life. Do some research to find the grocery stores, shopping centers, restaurants, movie theaters, and parks that are near any home you’re interested in.
Consider how close the home is to your job, your significant other’s job, and your children’s schools. Will they need to change schools? How are the schools in the area rated? Are there sidewalks and greenways near your home?
3. How much will I pay each month for my home?
A home is usually the biggest purchase a person will make in his or her life. You need to find a good balance between what you are spending each month and the features, size, and location of you new home.
Work with a mortgage banker to determine a monthly budget that will work for your situation. Don’t forget that in addition to your mortgage payment, you will have to pay taxes and in some cases primary mortgage insurance or homeowner’s association dues.