The process of buying the right house for you begins with understanding your dreams and goals for home ownership. Have fun with this! Asking yourself the following “what, when, where, why and how” questions is a great place to start.
What do you need in a home? In addition to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms required, be sure to consider features that will support or enhance your lifestyle (i.e.,cook’s kitchen, open floorplan, space for a garden, playscape or workshop). Do you prefer tile, carpet, or wooden floors? Will you need an office space or guest rooms for frequent visitors? Will stairs be an issue or will they make your house more fun?
When do you want to be in your new home? Is there a specific date that you need to consider; i.e. new baby coming, rental lease is terminating, starting new job? Or do you need time to build credit, pay off debt, or save for a down payment? Realize that the real estate market is changing all the time – home prices and/or interest rates may be increasing or decreasing; the inventory of available homes is always changing. It is best to tie your time frame in with the timing of the market to get closest to making your dreams come true.
Where is the most desirable and convenient place to live? Consider proximity to work and school as well as important social and leisure activities. Long and/or frequent commutes take time out of your day and dollars out of your pocket! Do you need some open space around you or do you love the proximity to neighborhood hangouts? Location is one of the most significant factors in the satisfaction with your home. It is important to make a good decision – some things you can change after you buy, but you can’t change the location!
Why buy? Knowing what’s driving your home buying decision will help to ensure that your needs get met. This may be the most important question in making your plan for a home purchase. A home can be the most important purchase you make. It can help build wealth, and more importantly it can lead to a more satisfying, happier and even healthier life. Think about your dreams and goals…. will buying the right home enhance your life? Will it support the life you dream of, will it enable more of the things you love? If yes, what are the essential versus “nice to have” features?
How much can you afford to spend? It is important to set a bubuy bdget that works for you and provides security into the future. Think about how much you can afford to put down, and what amount you can easily afford to pay monthly or annually. We will talk about how to determine your home buying budget in the next of our series, The Smart Way to Buy a Home.