Factors to consider while House hunting
Updated: Mar 10
The process of buying a home may be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Apart from financial perspective, there are also a number of other factors to be considered. It is not possible to define a home as the best home by looking at its infrastructure or its features. While house hunting, it is important for the home to be the best fit for you and your family and their expectations and needs. These are some of the important factors that may be considered by you while looking for a home.
Once you get pre-approved, your lender will let you know the maximum amount that you may be able to borrow for your home. Typically in the process of pre-approval, the lenders consider your annual income, debt to income ratio, source for down payment etc. While calculating your expenses, there are lot of factors to be considered along with your monthly mortgage payment such as insurance, property tax, HOA fees and other maintenance expenses. There might also be additional expenses if you decide to renovate your home after buying. It is very important to plan and budget accordingly.
Location is a very important factor to be considered as location cannot be modified or changed once the home is bought. Homes located near commercial properties, Large churches, near an airport or near a freeway tends to be very noisy. If you are planning to commute, consider the home that is in close proximity to bus stations, subway stations, bike share locations. While buying home, it is advisable to find out if there are any improvements or developments planned in that area as location is not constant and periodically it goes through changes.
Size of your home
The size of the home decided based on the needs are optimal. Bigger home doesn't always mean a good thing, it might also cost you added expense in heating bills, more furniture and decorations to fill in, increased insurance and property taxes etc. In the same way, if you are planning to expand your family, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms may be planned accordingly to meet your family's needs. If you have an extra room, it may be used as home office, art and crafts room or yoga room depending on your personal preferences. It might also be beneficial as it has the potential for future projects and improvements.
Type of Home
Determining the type of home is as important as determining the location or the size of the home. For example, if you wish to have a big yard space for growing garden, install play structures for kids, hot tub etc, then single family home might be a good choice because condos and town homes usually have very limited space. At the same time, while going for a home with big yard, it is advisable to consider the maintenance cost to maintain the yards front and back. In the same way, if you prefer to have home with little or no stairs, single story home or a ranch style of home may be considered.
Cost of living and transportation expenses
Cost of living is the amount of money needed for you and your family to sustain certain standards of living. Some housing areas might be expensive than where you currently live. The cost of living varies depending on the area. It might be because of certain factors such as good views, good schools, has a good walk score, closer to public transportation, demand in housing availability, good neighborhood score etc. Some communities have high HOA fees which adds on to your monthly expenses. Another fact to be considered is the transportation expenses, depends on how far you may need to commute daily. The gas bill or the transportation fee might add up on your monthly budget if your home is located far from your workplace. It may also reduce family time and increase stress due to lack of time.
Home Layout or Design
Some prefer to have a good layout of the home rather than a home with bigger size. Some prefer to have large living room or large kitchen with lots of storage spaces. Some prefer to have homes with a lot of windows and lighting. For example, there might be two different homes with the same square footage and same price, but one has larger kitchen and the other has the large living space or bedrooms. The choice depends on the personal preference.
Buying a home in a good neighborhood is very important. You may talk to the neighbors to get an idea or feel of the neighborhood. You may drive around the neighborhood in the weekday and weekend to get an idea. Good schools, low crime rate, landscaping, amenities available are some of the factors that help in determining the quality of your neighborhood.
Home's Curb appeal
Curb appeal is the way the home looks from outside from the street. If you wish to have an unique curb appeal that can be designed to your unique taste, it is important to check with the HOA or your community whether your desired upgrades will be allowed in their rules. Some communities may have restrictions on the landscaping, adding water fountain or any other exterior upgrades.
Home's exterior and Closets storage
Checking for any signs of damage on the Exterior walls, Roof or Foundation are very important. You may have to look closer for any foundational cracks as it might cause major future problems. Checking up on the roof for any damages are important and some insurance companies may also provide special discount for the type of roof material used as it might provide additional protection to the weather related damages. Checking up on the exterior walls for any signs of rotting wood or other signs of decay are also important.
Some people prefer to have finished basements so that they may use it as an additional living space and also the basement may have to be checked for any visible water stains, damage or mold growth. If you own multiple cars, it is advisable to measure the garage's width to check whether there is enough room for your cars, you may also have to find out about the availability of street parking. You may also have to consider if you need room for extra closet space or a workbench in the garage.
Best way to track down the positives of a home or to compare the homes that best fits your need is by creating a checklist your family's needs. There are certain things that can be done while touring homes to determine the quality such as checking on the structural and exterior defects on the walls, roof. Water pressure by turning on the faucets, flushing of the toilets, electrical issues by turning on the switches etc. These only provide a rough idea of the health of the home, a proper inspection may be needed to determine the condition of the home precisely.