Imagine this scenario…
You’re shopping for a new home and decide to visit a recent newly listed property. Before you even arrive, you notice how quiet and calm the neighborhood is, with children playing in beautifully landscaped yards. The house itself is located on a cul-de-sac, with a handsome yard of its own and it looks to be in impeccable condition. Once you’re inside, you can truly start to picture yourself living there. The spacious patio is perfect for summer parties, the modern kitchen perfect for making those family brunches on Sunday afternoon, and a cozy living room- the only thing missing is your big comfy couch and the family sitting on it.
Your emotions are through the roof and you’re on cloud nine. This is your dream home!
Before you make your final decision, you need to stop for a moment and ask yourself if you are making this decision with your heart or your head…. is this a practical home that could really work for you and your family? Don’t let your emotions carry you away into making a hasty decision… here are some questions to help you decide if this “dream home” is really right for you.
- Is the Property in Your Price Range? When shopping for real estate, price is most buyer’s primary concern. Most buyers will have a budget they can afford… and, if you see a home that you fall in love with, you may feel inclined to push that budget a little higher. Ultimately, you need to decide if a home is realistically affordable for your current financial situation. Don’t count on future raises or promotions to somehow make the difference in a mortgage payment you can’t afford with the money you have available today.
- Does the Property Really Meet your Needs? While it’s easy to fall in love with a few key features that the sellers have been sure to highlight, it can also be easy to miss some key necessities that may be lacking. Perhaps the property doesn’t have easy parking like a driveway or garage. Maybe it’s a home with steps and you really need a single level. This is where having a list of “Must-Haves” started long before you begin looking at properties is very helpful. No matter how beautiful a home might be, if it doesn’t meet your basic needs and you aren’t comfortable living there, buyer’s remorse is almost a given and you may end up moving sooner than expected.
- Do you like the neighborhood? First impressions can be deceptive. If you visited the home and surrounding neighborhood on a sunny summer afternoon, you may be surprised to find that the neighborhood is also a busy thoroughfare during rush hour traffic both in the mornings and in the evenings. Are there available services like trash pickup, food delivery, or nearby shopping? And how far will you be from common destinations like work and school? These are all factors you need to consider- an attractive neighborhood can be nice, but still not offer the conveniences you need for a happy life there. The right time to research a neighborhood is before you live there.
- How old is the Property? Here’s a fact: savvy sellers know what buyers want to see, and they’ll do their best to dress up a property and make it look its best. In most cases, this is harmless… but it can also mislead you in the heat of the moment when you’re first viewing a home. Updated modern features and details can easily throw you off of realizing that a home may be older than you think. While there’s nothing wrong with purchasing an older home, it does come with a range of additional concerns that need to be considered: notably, the age & condition of appliances, and the efficiency of the home. An older home with old windows and an old furnace may require updating sooner than anticipated.
- Will it need repairs or renovations? Don’t let an attractive kitchen make you overlook an outdated bathroom- both rooms are equally important. Getting the advice of a licensed home inspector is paramount to seeing “under the hood” of a home. While the home inspection is taking place, plan to be there to take a deeper look at the home. Inspect every room of the house, underneath cabinets, and behind appliances. Look for signs of neglect or damage that could mean costly repairs down the road.
- How much will it cost to maintain the home? Do your research. Owning a home costs more than just the monthly mortgage payment. From keeping it clean to paying the bills and keeping up on repairs, there’s a lot to consider. If you’ve never managed household finances before, check out this monthly expense calculator to better understand other expenses associated with owning a home.
Falling in love can be a wonderful feeling, and when it comes to homes, you may feel pressured to act quickly. Before you rush into a questionable situation, ask yourself and your agent a few questions and get a better understanding of the commitments you’re about to make. Being financially secure in your new home is more important than having brand new carpets or a pool. A home needs to meet your basic needs, providing safe and comfortable living accommodations for your family.