How to Choose a Home
Here are some tips to help determine which house is best for you. Once we have narrowed your home search based on your preferred neighborhoods, features and amenities, it’s time to pick out a few homes to view. Having a house features wish list keeps us focused on which features are most important to you.
When narrowing down your home search, consider the following:
- Decide which styles of home you want to consider: Colonial, Ranch, Split-level, etc.
- Determine the age and condition of the house you want to buy.
- Consider which updates you are willing to make to your home.
- Consider resale potential.
- Consider future expansion/renovation potential.
- Use a features wish list to keep focused
- Use our home search comparison website to keep organized
- Eliminate homes that do not fit your list.
- Monitor homes that you may want to re-visit later, understanding that we may need to compromise on some items on the wish list.
- Finally: Act decisively when you find the right home! We will supply you with comparable sold properties so you can make an educated decision.
Determine What Type of Home You Want to Buy
There are several forms of home ownership: single-family homes, multiple-family homes, condominiums and co-ops.
Single-family homes: One home per lot.
Multiple-family homes: Some buyers, particularly first-timers, start with multiple-family dwellings, so they’ll have rental income to help with their costs. Many mortgage plans, including VA and FHA loans, can be used for owner-occupied buildings with up to four units. Lender requirements are different for multi-family homes, so it will be important to discuss your qualifications with your lender.
Condominiums: With a condo, you own from the walls in. You also own a certain percentage of the common elements – staircases, sidewalks, roofs, etc. Monthly charges pay your share of taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and maintenance. A homeowner’s association administers the development.
Co-ops: In some cities, cooperative apartments are common. With co-ops, you purchase shares in a corporation that owns the whole building, and you receive a lease to your own unit. A board of directors, comprised of owners and elected by owners, supervises the building management. Monthly charges include your proportionate share of the underlying mortgage and taxes on the building. Co-ops have strict financial requirements.
Decide What Age and Condition of Home You Want to Purchase
Weigh your needs, budget and personal tastes in deciding whether you want to buy a newly constructed home, an older home or a fixer-upper. Like many buyers, you may want to purchase a renovated, move-in ready home. Or you may prefer a well-maintained but dated home that can updated exactly to your taste. We will weigh these factors when choosing the best option for your individual situation.
Consider Resale Potential
As you look at homes, you may want to keep in mind these resale considerations. For example:
- One-bedroom condos typically take longer than two-bedroom condos to sell.
- The pool of buyers for single family homes with two bedrooms is lower than for homes with three or more bedrooms and therefore have less appreciation potential.
- Homes with curb appeal, i.e., well-maintained, attractive, and with a charming appearance from the street, are the easiest to resell.
- The most expensive house on the street, or ones with anything unusual or unique, are harder to sell. The best investment potential is traditionally found in a less expensive, more moderately sized home, compared to the neighborhood.
Use a Features Wish List to Keep Your Search Focused
Make a features wish list to clarify which features are most important to you when looking for a home. Using this features wish list will keep your house hunt focused and effective. Be mindful that you may have to compromise.
Use a Home Comparison Chart to Keep Your Observations Organized
While house hunting, it’s a good idea to make notes about what you see because viewing several houses at a time can be confusing. I will supply you with a ‘Home Comparison Chart’ to help you keep track of your search, organize your thoughts and record your impressions. Each time we look for homes, you will receive valuable information in a bound booklet for easy note taking.
Act Decisively When You Find the Right Home
Before you begin the home buying process, resolve to act promptly when you do find the right house. Every Realtor, ourselves included, has many stories to tell about buyers who looked far and wide for their dream home, finally found it, and then said, “We always promised my Dad we’d sleep on it, so we’ll make an offer tomorrow.” Many times the story had a sad ending – someone else came in that evening with an offer that was accepted.
Resolve that you will act decisively when you find the house that’s clearly right for you. This is particularly important after a long search, if the house is newly listed and/or under priced. We will guide you through the process and share with you which homes may stay on the market and which ones are hot and likely to fly off the market.