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Do you know the most important item you must consider when looking for a home? I hope so because only you know what features are essential to you and your family. For many people, priority No. 1 may be price, neighborhood or number of bedrooms, or possibly some combination of the three. Someone else may list a backyard that can accommodate pets as their must-have feature before they will consider any other criteria. The point is that you must decide what aspects of a home are most important to you when you are in the market for a new home. Once you prioritize your requirements, you can determine if that one-car garage is a deal-killer for an otherwise perfect home.
You have a lot to consider when buying a home. Not only must you find a property you like, but you must deal with financing, negotiations, inspections, an appraisal, title insurance and a survey. The list is lengthy. With so much information competing for your attention, you might easily overlook details of a home that could significantly affect your future enjoyment of it. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Schools – According to a recent National Association of Realtors profile of homebuyers and sellers, 30% of Texas homebuyers listed the quality of a neighborhood’s school district as a factor in purchasing a home. That number increases to almost 40% for married couples and 55% of respondents who have children under the age of 18 living at home who listed the school district’s quality as a factor in their decision.
Traffic – If you want to live in a quiet neighborhood where you can work from home in peace, walk the dog, or ride bikes with your kids, you may not want to live on a street with heavy traffic patterns. Sometimes a road can be fairly quiet during most of the day, only to fill with cars during commute times or if a school is letting out nearby. The best way to know for sure is to visit the property at different times of day and on weekdays and weekends.
Landscaping – Do you plan to put your green thumbs to use? If so, you want to know if deer or other wildlife pose a challenge to gardens in the neighborhood. Maybe you prefer to limit your time maintaining a yard, so consider what will be required to keep the current landscape healthy or to replace it with lower-maintenance options.
Predicting the future – Any new roads or developments in the area can change your living experience significantly. A view of undeveloped land now could be a new neighborhood, roadway, or multifamily housing in the future. Better to find out before you buy a home if the plans for the neighborhood fit in to your view of how you want to live.
Room to grow – If you’re buying with the thought of adding a second-story to the house sometime in the future, building a home office in the back yard, or installing an in-ground pool, find out if the property itself can accommodate what you have in mind. Remember to make sure that zoning or homeowners association (HOA) rules don’t prohibit your plans either. These are questions your Realtor can help answer for you.
Bear in mind that no property will be flawless. A qualified home inspector will look for any major defects, giving you time to make an informed decision about whether to continue with the purchase, renegotiate the deal, or terminate the contract.
But the home you buy probably will also contain a few unique quirks, some that you uncover before you purchase it, others that may become evident only after you move in. Maybe the dishwasher makes a strange noise or the bathroom door opens in a way that bumps the mirror.
Keeping your expectations realistic will allow you to see past minor issues and enjoy your home.
Your Realtor can help you find properties that fit your criteria and discuss the pros and cons of each one. With your priorities clearly defined, you are sure to end up in a home that makes you happy.
For more consumer-friendly real estate information, please visit www.HAR.com.
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