Over the years I have bought several homes. It has taken me that long to figure out the biggest things to consider when buying a home for my family. I have made mistakes on each one of these 10 items and by learning from my experience you will not do the same. These 10 things are the top items on my list when looking at buying a home.
When buying a home, the price needs to be the #1 thing to consider. You need to look at your monthly income and not spend more than 25-35% of your take-home pay on a mortgage. Now when you go to get approved they will be looking at your gross income. The lender will qualify you for a much higher payment than is affordable. I encourage you to not buy above 30% take home pay.
#2 Location, Location, Location
Where do you want to live? Is the area good for resale? Do you have children and need to look into good schools? Is the house on the main road? The only one of these things that I have not failed at when buying a new home is considering the school system. This has always been a top priority. My children are my number one focus and will never fail due to anything that I may do. I encourage people to stay away from homes on main roads. I have had 2 homes on main roads. Let me tell you listening to traffic all the time and praying my children do not get hit by cars is stressful. Plus, main roads give thieves better access. I know this because my Christmas lights were stolen off my house last year.
#3 Is the house 2-Story or 1-Story?
1-Story homes sell for a higher price per square foot. If you do not plan to resell the home then this may not matter to you. Yet, if you want to grow old in the home you may want to consider a functional layout. Are the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry rooms on the main level?
#4 How old is the home?
Age of the home is something to look at. The older the home, the more maintenance it will need. Now if you are Mr. Fix-it, then you may not care about the age. Although even if you are handy with a tool belt, the cost of repairs will add up . You need to consider the age of the furnace, water heater, appliances, and roof.
#5 How much storage does the house have?
Storage is something that is not necessity. If you have a big family and lots of stuff this is something to consider. If the home does not have much storage, then you will need to do research on how to organize and store things in small spaces.
#6 Is there a large yard?
When I bought my third home, I thought that I always wanted a large yard that we could build a shop on in the future. Yet, after only one summer of relentless yard work, I gave up that dream and decided to buy a home with little to no yard. My husband and I both work full-time jobs. When we get time off (weekends/vacation) we do not want to spend our time doing yard work. We want to be able to pick up and go. We do not want to worry about getting a notice from the HOA, that we need to maintain our yard better.
#7 How close are the neighbors?
Neighbors are a big factor. Does the home have a private backyard? How close is the next house? Can the houses next to you see in your windows? Do the neighbors look like they maintain their homes/yards? These are all big things to take into consideration, since you may be living next to them for the rest of your life.
#8 Is there a HOA?
Homeowners Associations aren’t a bad thing. They do have rules and regulations you will need to follow. I live in a home that has an HOA. They are a little bit of a nuisance but this will ensure that everyone takes care of their homes. There won’t be broken down cars in the front yard, everyone will have to maintain their yards and fences. This will keep your home value up.
#9 Does the home have a slab foundation or crawl-space foundation or basement foundation?
There are different views on if slab foundations are good or bad. I have never owned a home with a slab foundation due to the horror stories I have heard. The fact of the matter is that concrete cracks and if you have a slab this will cause your flooring to have bumps in it. A slab foundation also makes it difficult to get to anything to repair. It is not impossible to make repairs, but it costly. I have always owned homes that have the standard crawl-space foundations. Anytime we have needed to fix anything it has been easy.
#10 Does the home FEEL homey/comfy?
Remember that this is the home you are buying to live in for years and if you do not feel comfortable, then do not buy it. If either you or your spouse does not feel good in a home, then do not buy it. My last home was beautiful and had all the extras that anyone could want. The fact was that we never felt comfortable in our home. It did not FEEL homey.
These are my top 10 considerations when buying a new home. Each of them has been mistakes for me in the past. I hope by sharing these things, that you will not make the same errors that I made. I encourage everyone to think long and hard before making an large purchase. A home is something that you should not buy on a whim. This something that you could be paying on for 30 years, and living in forever. All 10 of these things are something that needs to be considered. I hope that this has helped you to make the right decision for your family!