A house hunting process can be stressful, exhausting, and overwhelming. Before beginning the process, it’s vital to be realistic about your finances and what you can afford to tailor your search appropriately.
Finding a home during a hot housing market season can be challenging due to high price hikes, low inventory, and bidding wars.
You should be emotionally and financially ready for the harsh realities when house hunting.
You could miss out on a good house if you’re conservative with your offer, can’t afford the 20% down payment, or wait too long to contemplate a specific offer.
Familiarizing yourself with the common house hunting challenges can prepare for what to expect and what you can do to ensure a seamless process.
This article outlines ten factors to consider when house hunting.
1. Safety and security
Your safety and security should be of top concern when house hunting. While high-crime areas offer affordable housing, you shouldn’t compromise your safety for a little price difference.
Additionally, the security and safety issue can significantly impact your home’s resale value when you want to sell.
Conduct a comprehensive online search to determine a potential neighborhood’s safety statistics and facts. You can also explore the area while talking to different neighbors to know how secure the place is.
Alternatively, you can look for a house in gated communities as they’re usually well-guarded with specific boundaries. Their exit and entry points are defined, making it easier to maintain a record of who comes and goes.
Some gated communities provide resident cards to authorize you when leaving or entering the community, enhancing safety and security.
They also have excellent surveillance throughout the community to help monitor the ongoing activities.
One’s tastes and preferences usually influence location choices. This means what might seem like a good location for you may be horrible for a different home buyer.
However, a good location should have transport links, continuous development, community involvement, and highly ranked schools.
When house hunting, consider the basic amenities and their proximity to your potential home. To find an ideal location, consider centrality, the neighborhood, lot location, and the house you intend to buy.
3. Your budget
During a house hunt, it’s vital to restrict your shopping to the properties within your budget. This helps prevent the disappointment and lust for a home you can’t afford.
It also ensures that you don’t stretch your finances beyond your means or feel dissatisfied with what you can afford. Begin the search at your price range’s low end, and if you find something you like, you don’t have to go higher.
The savings can come in handy because you’ll incur other expenses when moving, including service charges, utilities, moving expenses, and more. Stick to your house hunting budget to avoid stressful situations down the line.
4. The neighborhood
The house isn’t the only thing that should meet your expectations. The neighborhood should too.
Driving around on weekends, weekdays, evenings, and during the day is an excellent way to research the area. Find out if the neighboring houses have consistent features and sizes.
Consider how clean and tidy the neighbors keep their yards and if there’s any trash or old cars around. Find out if the neighborhood is safe for people to run, bike, or walk.
If you have kids and pets, the neighborhood’s friendliness to them is a crucial consideration.
5. Curb appeal
Your home should be a reflection of your lifestyle and design preferences. If you’re a laid-back person and don’t want to do a lot of maintenance, a Tudor-style home or formal Victorian wouldn’t be an ideal choice.
Choose simpler houses, like brick homes. Consider whether the patios or decks and the roof and decks are in pristine condition.
Choose a low-maintenance home design and landscaping to make it easier to maintain the property’s curb appeal.
6. Mortgage pre-approval
If you have an unstable income or poor credit, the amount the bank is ready to lend and what you believe you can afford might not match.
Before going on a house hunt or putting an offer on a house you like, ensure you’re pre-approved for a loan.
Failure to do so may result in time wastage, especially if you sign a contract only to find out later that the bank can’t lend you the amount you wanted or has put forward terms you can’t accept.
A mortgage pre-approval can also help you find a house within your budget limits.
7. Size and floor plans
Don’t be attracted to large houses or unique features you might never use. Before house hunting, determine your suitable home size and the ideal floor plan and stick to them.
While additional square footage can be eligible for the theater or gym space you’ve always wished for, consider the higher taxes and utility bills you’ll start paying.
You’ll also need more furniture and other things to fill the house and extra effort to ensure it’s always clean.
Be realistic about the layout and space you need to suit your lifestyle today and for the period you’ll be staying there.
8. Lighting and windows
Consider the natural light the windows let in and the views you can enjoy. They should bring sufficient light to ensure you don’t use artificial lighting during the day.
Look at the built-in outlets and light fixtures in every room. While you can always add outlets and artificial lighting, it’s good to have some in place before moving in.
9. The kitchen
Kitchens are usually the heart of many homes; if that’s the case for you, don’t compromise on it. Kitchen remodels are time-consuming and expensive.
While most home buyers may prefer going the remodeling way to get what they want, you might have to wait for an extended period to create your dream kitchen, especially when working with a strict budget.
Nonetheless, if the kitchen only requires minor upgrades, it could be worth considering a remodel.
10. Finishing touches
A house’s finishing touches come in handy during a house hunt. A simple-looking home can be striking because of the details, such as the trim.
An elegant fireplace and custom window treatments can be a significant selling point. If such elements are essential to you, include them in your house hunting checklist.
House hunting can be a complex and stressful task. However, considering these factors can help make it easier to navigate the process.