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House Buyers Guide: Finding Home Checklist, Tips

Posted by MountIsaProperty on November 8, 2016
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Find Your Dream House Guide

Choosing the house you want to commit to is a serious business. There is a lot that goes into deciding which house to buy, but once you’ve found that special home, all of your hard work will be worth it, and you can start putting down roots.

The key as a homebuyer is recognizing the truly important things. Making the distinction between imperfections and fatal flaws.

Here are just a few examples of the considerations you may face when evaluating homes. Of course, there are many, many more.


Location, structural integrity, room count, health and safety, the likelihood of flooding, industrial pollution, even radon gas.

Not important:

Paint, carpet and cleanliness, landscaping, room size.


Home Buying Checklist

These tips will guide and help you find the perfect home:


* Staying in place longer if possible

When looking for a home you want to pick a home that you could see yourself living in for many years, at least 5-7 years ideally. Staying in place longer will help you avoid those added expenses, and the extra time spent in your home could be just enough to help you ride out a downturn in the real estate market.

Is your new home your first? Choose a home that reflects your needs and personality. There’s nothing wrong with settling for a more modest dwelling that satisfies your immediate needs, before taking the plunge and spending more for your permanent dream home.


* Leave room for growth

Because you’ll want to stay in one home for several years you want to find a place that can adapt, as your life changes. Say, if you have a new baby, or Junior moves back in after college. Leave options open for those family planning moments.

Do you need a two-story family home with a two-car garage and multiple bedrooms to accommodate the different schedules and lifestyles of all your family members? If possible, choose a home that reflects your needs and personality.

If you don’t have it in the budget to get a home big enough to fit those future needs you can look for one that will allow you to build on in the future.

Is your new home your first? There’s nothing wrong with settling for a more modest dwelling that satisfies your immediate needs, before taking the plunge and spending more for your permanent dream home. Allow yourself a chance to transition when the time is right.


* What you can not live without

Before you start looking for houses, it is important to think of what kind of house you really want. What features are essential? Such as, a number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage, formal dining room, or the size of the yard, and also which ones you could do without.

What about Pets? It’s heartbreaking to learn that you have to give up your dog or cat because the homeowner association or body corporate rules don’t allow pets in your new building. Some apartment buildings have restrictions on pets, so make sure you find out before you sign the contract.

If you’re looking for a single-family home, check to see if the backyard is fenced to safely allow your dog to go outside. Will it be easy to walk your dog through your urban neighborhood streets on sidewalks and away from busy roadways?

By constructing this list now, it will not only help you rate houses when viewing but also help put your ideas into perspective when you come to make the big decision.


* Be flexible

Pick a place with rooms that can serve multiple functions, so the home remains highly functional for you through the years. For example, an open-floor-plan-style home is very adaptable.

A kitchen that overlooks a family room is helpful when one’s children are young (you can cook while watching the kids), while such a kitchen is also great for entertaining your friends once the kids leave the nest.


* Check the neighborhood

You are not just buying a home to live in when you pick a house out you are also choosing a neighborhood to live in. Think about whether that neighborhood will suit you, do you like the feel of the neighborhood and if it offer everything you need.

It is preferable to buy a home that is in an up-and-coming or well-cared-for area. Homes in areas that are declining may lose value and never recover. Looking into the school systems and the crime-rate are also important factors. It’s best to find a place in a community that you’ll enjoy.


* Want evidence of an area?

find out if any new housing developments are planned. The big firms don’t send in the diggers unless they’re certain they are going to find ready buyers.

Look at the list of factors that they take into account before deciding to build new homes; demographics, employment levels, transport links, local schools, shops, local housing trends and levels of council spending in the area.

Don’t believe the ‘maybes’. A common mistake is to ignore the word “proposed” that sometimes comes in front of “housing development” or “retail complex”. Don’t believe it’s going to happen, and definitely don’t buy a property, until the building work has begun (or ideally finished).


* Keep it in the budget

Be practical about what you can afford. when buying a house you will need to check your finances, including looking into current and future expenses, and don’t exceed that.

It’s better to buy a home that you can easily afford than a home you have to struggle to find money for. Stay down to earth, and you’ll be better prepared should unexpected financial commitments and problems arise later down the road.


* Checking the real estate market

Don’t limit yourself, make sure that you are seeing as many different homes in your price range as possible and not just old properties or just new properties, look at both.

If you’re buying a for sale by owner home, be sure to have inspections done, just as you would do in any normal home buying process.

Get clear on your priorities, consider your “wants” and your “needs” when it comes to your home. Listing these out will help you make the right decisions and the necessary tradeoffs.

New properties

It’s nice to move into a place that’s brand-new. But, new isn’t always better. Consider both old and new. While you might not like a previous homeowner’s decorating decisions, you might like the owner-installed upgrades, like a finished basement and a backyard deck, that a new home might not have.

Old properties

An older home might be cozy and charming, but managing its deficiencies can be frustrating. You’re sure to inherit some unknown problems that may end up costing you an arm and a leg. Instead, you may opt for a newer home that features updated construction techniques and was built according to new building code requirements.


* Location and resale value

the location is important, a house that’s located on a busy, noisy street may be less enjoyable to you as a homeowner than one situated on a quiet, secluded cul-de-sac. When it comes time to re-sell your home will most likely be worth more if it’s located in a quiet area opposed to a busy one.

If the thought of sitting in traffic or switching buses and trains to complete a daily, two-hour commute to and from work makes you nauseous, you had better follow the paradigm of location is everything.

If you love walking to coffee shops and boutiques, don’t move into a new suburb construction. Your lifestyle and how your prospective home fits into it should be the main consideration in your decision to buy a home.

Many couples with young children now choose their home according to which school district it’s located in to ensure a good education for their kids.

If you’re trying to find an up-and-coming property area, look at areas undergoing regeneration, and if major businesses are moving in, or new housing developments are being planned.

You should consider the potential resale value of your new home. find out if any major construction or infrastructure projects are planned in your area. No one wants to buy a house facing an industrial building.


* Embrace technology

A lot of estate agents now use QR (Quick Response) technology. You hold your smartphone up to a square bar code on the signboard (or newspaper advertisement), and it links you straight to the sales brochure for that property. If you pass a home you like the look of, you can examine it there and then.


* Choose your home type

There are many different types of homes out there, so figure out which type best suits you whether it’s a single-family home, an apartment, or a townhouse.

You’ll want to pick a type that works with your lifestyle and your future plans. After all, you are not just looking for your dream home but the home that’s perfect for your dream life.

For instance a single family home will have to be maintained by the homeowner, for example mowing the lawn, fixing the plumbing, etc. while an apartment will have someone else taking care of the maintenance, but the owner will have to share a wall with his neighbors.


* Identify shortcomings

As a homebuyer, you are going to have to settle. The key is to know which imperfections are mere nuisances and which are fatal flaws. Particularly when purchasing your first home, emotions are running high.

A small thing that can be fixed shouldn’t detract you from buying a perfectly good home. For instance, you might go into a home and not like the paint, the cleanliness or the carpet.

Those are not things that are permanent so it’s something you should be able to ignore. On the other hand, you might have a slab issue and that would be something that you wouldn’t want to have to deal with.


* Look to the future

Although you want to look at your house as a home first and not an investment you should put some thought into how easy or difficult it might be to resell the home eventually.

If a home is so unlike other nearby homes in terms of size, style, price, etc., you might want to skip it and look elsewhere, it could become a burden should you want to someday move on.

Buy a place that’d be great to live in first and think about its resale value second. Predicting real estate cycles and home appreciation is tough enough for the experts, and much more for the average home buyer.


Home Purchase Tips: Older Home

An older home needs repairs. Do you enjoy tearing down old wallpaper and painting 16 foot-high living room ceilings? Is your passion designing and installing a new kitchen? The truth is, first time home buyers tend to underestimate the time and money needed for large remodeling projects.

Adding a new bathroom, den or even sleek lighting fixtures not only costs a lot of money but can take you a while to complete. Also consider that, while home renovations tend to add value to a residence, they rarely recoup more than what was spent on them.

If you don’t have time to update an older home, opt for a newer home that features updated construction techniques and was built according to new building code requirements.


* Things to consider prior to home purchase

Consider the age of the house. The older a house the more maintenance it is likely to need. If the plumbing is very old you know it will not last forever. Do you really think a 15-year-old roof will last another 10 years? Do not count on it.

Look at the electrical system. Is it modern or is it so old and outdated it could actually be a fire hazard? How old are the heating and a/c systems? Look at the appliances (if included) If these are over 10 years of age (perhaps less) it means they gobble energy compared to today’s models.

Are the windows modern, are they double pane, have the special coatings that make them more energy efficient? The answers here will cost or save you a lot in years to come. Old may be gold, but old also requires more cash inputs.

Old houses may not be insulated, also may have asbestos, lead paint, air leaks, drafts, rot, and termite damage. Add in the fact that everything in the house is worn. I do not say to never buy an old house. I simply say make your offer much lower than a new one as you will be paying more in several ways for the old house.


* Finding a home should be fun

Take these tips into account as you look for a home and remember nothing is more rewarding than finding your perfect home. Look for a good house, not a perfect one, because the house won’t be perfect until you’re in it, and start putting down roots and building a life.

finding the perfect house for sale doesn’t need to be stressful, complex, or overanalyzed. Just remember to pace yourself and enjoy the journey.


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