Create a housing checklist before purchasing a home

March 5th, 2013

Creating a housing wish list may help buyers narrow down their dream home.

Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial investments most people make during their lifetimes. A home is not only a financial asset that allows owners to build equity but it’s also a source of personal pride and a shelter in which they can raise families. Therefore, it’s important to explore several factors beyond price and interest rate when deciding whether to purchase a particular property.

There are several factors that many buyers may overlook when comparing different properties. It can be easier to cover all of the bases and make the right decision for any unique circumstances by making a checklist of all issues to consider before signing a loan contract.

First, homeowners should consider the details of the home itself. Many people may plan to update and remodel certain features to make the home their own. However, not all types of remodels and updates are compatible with certain properties. Spacing issues, materials and building codes will all need to be taken into account before making significant updates to a property Those who plan to invest heavily in their property should ensure that the features they are hoping to add or take away are possible. In addition, the cost of remodels may be more than buyers are willing to pay. Comparing remodeling costs before buying a house can help individuals determine if the updates are worth it or if they should continue shopping around for newer homes in different areas.

It’s also important that buyers meet potential neighbors before investing in a property. Ideally, buyers will be living in their home for several years and residing next to noisy or unpleasant neighbors may prompt them to rethink their decision. Further, neighbors can provide good insight on the town itself, school systems, crime rates and other community issues that may influence buyers’ decisions. For people who are making a long-term investment in their home, neighbors can also disclose information about surrounding properties that are either driving up or driving down property values.

Consider the additional costs of certain home purchases
Numerous residents nationwide are ready for homeownership but may not be prepared for the additional costs that come with maintaining a home. A mortgage consultant can help buyers secure great rates and a competitive mortgage. It’s also crucial for buyers to find homes that offer low tax rates, reasonable homeowners association fees (if applicable) affordable utilities and sturdy materials that limit the need for frequent repairs. For example, individuals may have found a home with a detached garage that they were seeking but that imposes high property tax rates that make it difficult to stay within their budget. The same is true for homes that offer luxury amenities, such as studio apartments or pools. Buyers should consider how important these features are if they impose high tax, maintenance and utility costs.

It’s also important for individuals to consider how long they plan to stay in the home. Many people shy away from purchasing a home if they plan to relocate in two to three years. However, if buyers are set on a home purchase, it may be useful for workers to determine if their companies offer a relocation mortgage if they are reassigned to a new location.
Lastly, buyers should go with their gut feelings about a purchase and whether they will truly be happy in that property. If the tiny closet space, off-street parking and noisy college kids next door are going to frustrate them over time, it may be time to continue looking for a different property.