Deciding on where you are going to spend years of your life is exciting—and scary. Choosing the right home requires a lot of thought, both before you start house-hunting and when you prepare to make the offer.
Before you leap, answer these questions.
Is it the home or the address you like?
Yes, location is important, but it’s up to you to determine HOW important. Are you willing to settle for a less-than-ideal home because it’s in the city, town, or neighborhood you like? If so, can you live with the compromises you’ll be making with this house?
Are you enamored of the floor plan?
The layout of your new home is essential. Pay attention as you walk through the house. Look from one room to the other. Does it flow the way you’d like? Don’t let finishing touches overshadow underlying floor plan issues that are nagging you.
Have you factored in the costs for renovation and upkeep?
The purchase price is just the start of your new home investment. You might have made a mental list of improvements, but have you tallied it up? Did you consider the cost to maintain the landscaping and that swimming pool that seems so inviting on the hot summer day when you are house-hunting? Is it going to exhaust your budget to pay for the home’s heating and electricity? Even something as seemingly simple as rewiring to accommodate your electronics can add up. Factor it all in before you choose.
Are you going to grow into this house—our out of it?
We want “move-in ready”, but that’s living in the moment. What about five or six years from now? Will this house still be your idyll? Will the area continue to develop, and is that what you want? Is your household growing or shrinking? Maybe you have an aging or ill family member who might need to live with you in a few years. Will this home accommodate that life change? People look for a home where they will live for 15 or 20 years. In reality, the average American homeowner moves every six or seven years.
Can you envision a life here?
Did you get excited when you pulled up to the house the first time? Did you picture your car in the driveway? Can you imagine you and your family living here comfortably? You should be able to see your furniture in the rooms. The interior should spark your excitement, maybe thinking, “Oh, this is how I’m going to decorate this room” or “We can put the Christmas tree over there” or “What a great space for your grandmother’s piano!”
Your home choice is one of the biggest decisions you make in your lifetime. Take the time to consider all your options and the value they add, if any, to your decision.