Buying a house is exciting, but it’s also one of the biggest, most important investments in your life. Here are some things to consider before beginning your house hunting adventure.
Needs and Wants
A great place to start is a list of your needs and wants. This can help make your search more efficient and baseline what you’re looking for in a new home. Make sure you think about your future, too. If you’re married and plan to have kids, do you need to consider more bedrooms and/or space?
Old vs. New Homes
Older homes may look charming and fun, but they often need more repairs. If appliances or mechanical systems are outdated, they could be expensive to repair or replace. That said, you may have more flexibility to make the home your own. Newer homes will likely meet the most recent building codes and usually need fewer repairs. That doesn’t mean they’ll be free of defects, but projects may be more creative than needed right away.
Location, Location, Location
You may think you want to live in a certain city or town, but exploring the area will help you see if it’s a good fit. What’s the walkability of the town? What’s the neighborhood like? Check it out during different times of the day and on different days (weekdays and weekends). What would your commute be like? Drive from the home/neighborhood to your job.
As you drive around the area, look around for potential noisemakers, such as nearby train tracks, factories, or excessive traffic, and check at different times of the day, especially at night. Don’t forget to look up, too—is the house under a flight pattern?
Whether or not you have kids, you should consider the quality of the schools since they’re important for the resale value of a house. Do the research on the area’s school district and use sites like GreatSchools.org and U.S. News & World Report to baseline your search.
Check out the community around the homes you’re considering. Do you like busy nightlife or more quiet? Ask the seller questions about the area to get the vibe of the community and check out apps like NextDoor to see what neighbors are saying. Also, talk to your real estate agent about the crime rate and check sites like CrimeMapping.com. Most areas will have some reported incidents, so look at the overall crime rate and reviews people leave about the safety of the area to get the full picture.
These considerations are a solid foundation for your homebuying journey and a great start to find your future home.