What should you look for when you’re deciding on a house to buy?
Of course, there are the obvious choices you make before you even see the house, like what price range you can afford and exactly how many bedrooms you need. Then, there are the important aspects of a home like a solid foundation and sturdy pipes that are taken care of during the home inspection.
So, besides these basics, what are the things you should search for when you’re considering making such a large investment?
Decide your must-haves
Beyond a certain number of bedrooms, many buyers have requests that are absolutely necessary to them. Do you have a large dog that needs a space to run around? You know you need a house that includes a fenced-in yard.
Perhaps, instead, your summer revolves around grilling out with friends, so a house without a back deck is impossible to even imagine. There are any number of must-haves that could break the possibility of your purchasing that house.
Make sure you tell your agent any specifics before they find houses for you. There are advanced search options that help us find your perfect home with the right amount of acreage, views, and more.
Go ahead and bring that measuring tape
You already have beautiful furniture, so you surely don’t want to buy a brand new living room or bedroom set for your new house. Take down measurements of all necessary furniture before you visit your possible dream house.
Different from what you might expect, rooms can often seem much smaller without furniture inside. So, if you’re worried your king-size bed might not fit in this master bedroom, go ahead and measure.
Sometimes, room measurements are already provided with the listing, but keep that measuring tape with you just in case. Before writing off what could be a perfect house because a room seems too small, make sure you measure it first.
Can your cars fit?
This is something people surprisingly overlook. Typically, when you go to visit a property with the intention to buy it, you’re all in one car. Don’t forget to consider that your big family has four cars.
Can you all fit on the driveway without blocking each other in? Maybe there’s room to pull off to the side of the yard without infringing on the neighbor’s property. Or, instead, you can park on the street (but make sure this is allowed first!).
Whatever the case, don’t forget to think about this little fact.
So. Many. Stairs.
Maybe you’re a fit couple in your 40s, but if this is the house you plan to stay in for the rest of your life, make sure you consider this. This is a personal decision, but an important one. Would you prefer a ranch house with everything on one level?
Maybe people find that having multiple rooms on a second level is just fine as long as the kitchen and master bathroom are both downstairs. If you plan to live at this house for many years, think about what you like now and what you’d prefer in the future.
Is it hot in here?
Most homes today come with central heat and air, but not always. Living in the south, summers without air conditioning can be downright dreadful, and replacing a unit is extremely costly. Ask questions about the heat and air if you don’t live in a particularly mild climate.
This is another clarification that is usually best to tell your agent at the very beginning so you can immediately start looking at homes that fit your needs. If you have children, do some research on school districts around the area to determine if there are any you would prefer.
Another important factor to consider is the crime rate in the neighborhood. Of course, you want your children to feel safe walking around the neighborhood with their friends or know that your home has a small chance of being robbed. Check out these rates before deciding on an area to live.
Also, determine if you prefer a rural, private area. Do you like being able to drink coffee on your front porch in your pajamas, even if this means you have to drive longer to reach the grocery store?
Otherwise, let your agent know you don’t mind losing a little bit of privacy for a neighborhood that has sidewalks and bike paths, allowing you to walk to ride your bike to the library. Before you decide to buy a home, make sure you think about all the neighborhood options, both for short-term and long-term happiness.
Don’t trick yourself. Everyone thinks they can be incredibly organized if they start fresh in a new house, and while that may be true for a month or two, eventually you’re going to reclaim a ‘junk drawer’ and lose that organization.
If you found your ‘dream house’ that is perfect except for not having any storage space, it probably isn’t your dream house. As much as you want to believe just a few cabinets in the kitchen will be okay even though you’re moving from a house with 15 cabinets and a large pantry, it probably won’t be.
Check out how many closets are in the house and how large they are, if there’s any attic storage space, or if you can forgo putting your car in the garage in exchange for keeping all those Christmas decorations in there.
Of course, if finding a place to store boxes of childhood memorabilia (rather than the fact that there isn’t anywhere to put towels in the bathroom) is the problem, you can always consider renting a storage unit.
If you are not choosing a smaller house because of budgetary concerns, be realistic about how much storage space you truly will need.