Choosing a new home is exciting but it can also be daunting as it comes with a lot of questions that you’ll need to answer before you decide to commit. Buying a property is a huge decision and you don’t want to invest a great deal of money into a place that you’re unsure about. To combat these uncertainties, here’s a list of what you should consider during the viewing process, along with your intuition of course.
What’s the neighborhood like?
As the saying goes, your house is your spouse and if this is the case, then your neighborhood must be your extended family. So, before you start to consider certain neighborhoods, create a ‘neighborhood profile’ that outlines what you’d like or expect. If you have children (or are planning to) one thing to put at the top of the ‘must have’ list is a good local school. Then, you need to think about the type of home that you want to live in. Do you want to live in a historic neighborhood or in a new development? To answer this question you might want to think about how much you’re willing to invest in your home once it’s been bought – an older property might attract you with its character but it might also end up costing you a fortune.
While it’s important to consider where you’ll live, it’s important to keep in mind how you live too. Perhaps the home with the spectacular views seems like a good idea but if you’re at work throughout the day, just how much of this are you going to be able to enjoy? Are you really willing to pay extra for somewhere that ticks all your boxes but isn’t close to anywhere on foot? Sometimes it’s best to consider a more practical approach such as the availability of parking, how close it is to amenities, the area’s employment opportunities and how low the area’s crime rate is. Remember that you’ll probably have to make compromises somewhere down the line.
Is there enough space?
Space is a huge factor for any prospective homebuyer, especially those who are upgrading to extend their family. When looking at the amount of space that’s on offer, a good thing to do is to consider your future needs. What will be your plan in 5-10 years? The housing market is always changing so it may be harder to upgrade in a few years time.
Funnily enough, a lot of realtors claim that they know when a house is a good fit for the buyer because it is when they start to consider where they’ll place their furniture. By doing this, they are mentally moving into the home and this is one step toward a committed sale. Of course, if this is something that you find yourself doing then it’s important to stay grounded and make an informed decision rather than choosing somewhere that has a great alcove for your piano. Outdoor space can play a part here, too. If you have pets or children (or both) a large garden might be preferable but remember to stay realistic about its upkeep.
What is the state of repair?
It’s not unusual to be attracted to a property because of how it looks and feels but more often than not this means that homebuyers fail to notice shabby repair work or things that need to be done. These types of properties are often referred to as ‘fixer uppers’. To combat this, you should never skimp on a professional property survey. This can reveal hidden problems such as damp and rot and can let you know roughly how much money such things would cost you to repair on top of how much you’ll be forking out for the house. Thinking objectively will allow you to see past the cost of a property survey and instead look at whether or not the house is worth buying at all. If your heart is truly set on the place, you can always negotiate the price based on the issues that have been found.
Are there any visible structural problems?
Similarly with the state of repair, any structural problems in your prospective new home should also be identified. Check to see if doors and windows open properly, if there are any DIY additions and whether or not there appears to be faulty electrical work or old wiring. Another thing to watch out for is the state of the roof. This is one of the most costly (albeit necessary) structural problems to replace and should always be done by a professional. If you’ve already committed to buying your home and believe it requires roof repair, contact reputable Durham roofing contractors who offer a free quotation on roof installations and repairs.
Can you afford it?
There’s only one rule here and that is – buy a house you can afford now, not later. Don’t let yourself feel pressured by the realtor and always stick to your budget. Many homebuyers feel like they can commit to a property because they expect to be earning more in a few years but there are plenty of other (sometimes unexpected) things that could get in your way and cause your finances to stagger. Make sure you budget your property search to be able to live the lifestyle that you want.
Alongside all of these factors, it’s also worth bearing in mind that the search for your new home could take longer than expected. For such a huge long-term investment, it’s well worth taking the time to consider exactly what you want, exactly what you don’t want and exactly what you can afford.