Once you’ve made the decision to start the home buying process and begin the search for your dream home, you need to evaluate what your needs and wants are in a home.
Keep a notepad where you will write all of the information regarding your search. As a first-time buyer it’s important that you keep in mind what characteristics of a house are permanent and which ones can be modified. For example location is permanent! Do you want to live in the city or a suburban area? Do you want to live in a rural area away from the hustle and bustle, or do you want to be close town? How far away is the neighborhood from your workplace or schools? What is the transportation system like? What will your commute be? The location you prefer depends on your specific lifestyle, so establish what you NEED upfront.
Open up your notebook and list some of your NEEDS such as the ones below:
- Where do I want to live? (community/general area)
- Are schools a factor?
- Is being close to public transportation important?
- Do I have special physical requirements, such as wheel chair access?
- Do I have pets to consider?
- How many bedrooms/bathrooms do I need?
- How big a house do I want? How many rooms? How many square feet?
- How much renovation and remodeling am I willing to do?
Then lists the WANTS that are a priority to you:
- Do I want an older home or a new one?
- What style of home do I prefer? (ranch, colonial, split-level, multi-level, town home, condominium, multi-family)
- What sort of lot would I like? (small yard, large yard, fenced, garage, patio/deck, other buildings)
- How many bedrooms/bathrooms would I like to have?
- What features are important? (air conditioning, carpeting, ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen, separate dining room, formal living room, family room, den, library, basement, separate laundry room, fireplace, workshop, other)
Also make clear to your real estate broker which features of a home you do NOT want! For example, if you have young children you might request NOT to be on a busy road. If you have a commute you may request you be within 15 minutes of the highway. If you clearly explain your needs and wants to your real estate broker, he or she will be able to give you an idea of the housing on the market that fit what you’re looking for.
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