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Real Estate Tips

Handy Checklist for New Home Hunting

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017
Evaluating a new home? What is on your checklist?

Are you looking for a new home? House-hunting is a journey, and you have a lot to consider as you begin. What factors are the most important when you weigh whether a new home is right for you? As you set out on the house-hunting path, take a checklist along with you to guide your way.

1. Set Your Key Priorities

Before you head out house-hunting online or in person, take a look at your needs. Evaluate what is most important to you before you get lost in the many properties that are available. Is the neighborhood school the most important factor for your family? Must your new home have four bedrooms? Consider your baseline for each element of your home, and then think about your ideal.

Use your strongest values for a home to narrow your search before it even begins. For instance, if your priority is for your children to attend one of several excellent schools and walk to those schools, you will need to look only at homes within a walking radius of those locations. Some of your priorities might include:

  • Accessibility to transit
  • Closeness to family
  • Family needs, such as education
  • Entertainment and recreational amenities
  • Safety
  • The size of homes and gardens in an area

2. Do Research Focused on These Priorities

Now that you have pinpointed your priorities, do research. If you love homes with a little more land around them, where will you find those in the area where you would like to live? If you enjoy urban living and want to be in an area where there are a lot of restaurants within walking distance, research walkable neighborhoods for foodies. Whatever your priorities, there is a home for you; you just need to start narrowing down the areas where this home could be located.

3. Get Your Finances in Order

Before you go looking for a new home, get your finances in order. This will allow you to move quickly in case you find the house of your dreams. Take a serious look at your budget and determine what you can afford, and get pre-approved for a mortgage. Some real estate agents might not even work with you until you have been pre-approved for a mortgage.

Know your neighborhoods so that you can pinpoint where you might find homes that meet your needs.

4. Go Shopping

Look around at houses that fit your qualifications. Take photos of the houses, and take notes as well. What do you like? What do you dislike? Get a sense of the home-buying landscape before you make a commitment.

5. Understand Extra Costs

If your ideal home is located in an apartment building, row house, or gated community, there could be extra costs associated with owning that home. For example, you could pay for communal service and amenities such as a pool or a landscaper, even if you never use those amenities. According to Forbes, "the purchase price is just one piece of owning a house; be sure to consider all of the costs associated with your potential new home." Make sure that you add these costs to your mortgage costs so that you know that you can afford to purchase the home.

6. Know Your Risks

Are there any problems connected to the property or the surrounding area? Perhaps the area is being eyed as a potential development site, or it has a history of industrial contamination. Understand the history and future of the area, and you can make a more informed decision.

7. Inspect Your Property

If you have fallen in love with a property, you also need to understand the risks connected to that specific property before you buy. Make sure that you order a home inspection that covers all of the potential problems with a property, including structural concerns such as the roof and the foundation. Even when the property market is hot, it is important to take this step to ensure that your home is the right choice and not a potential money pit.

At Open for Homes, we are here with the advice you need to make your hunt for a new home successful. Take a look at the blog at Open For Homes and commit to a better and more successful search for your new house.