Shopping for the Right Home

Make your home search a success by keeping these tips and ideas in mind as you start looking.

Couple shopping for the right home.

There’s no perfect way to go about your home search, but there are a few things you can do to help make a smarter decision for yourself and your family.

  1. Evaluate your needs now and in the future.
    What will your family look like in a year? Five years? Ten years? Will you need more bedrooms? Space for your home business? Storage for a new hobby? You can’t predict the future, but you can anticipate the needs of your short- and long-term plans.
  2. Think about how long will you stay in the home.
    Consider how long you’ll likely stay in your new home and what your needs will be for the duration. While right now it might feel unimaginable to ever want to move again, there may be a next stage and next home that awaits you.
  3. Avoid focusing on cosmetics.
    When walking through houses, try not to focus on things that are easily changed like ugly paint color, old carpeting and outdated finishes. Don’t be swayed either by attractive staging that isn’t practical for your needs. Instead, try to picture how you’ll use the space.
  4. Look at streets and neighborhoods.
    Walk around a neighborhood at different times of the day and night to get a feel for your potential new location. Talk to neighbors and see if the vibe is what you’re looking for. Are people friendly? Will you have enough privacy? Does it feel safe?
  5. Imagine how your belongings will fit in the space.
    You don’t want to have to buy all new furniture for your new house. And you don’t want to run out of storage space before you’ve moved in. Make sure the home’s layout can accommodate your needs without a lot of changes to your lifestyle.
  6. Determine your non-negotiables and must-haves.
    Before speaking with a real estate agent, decide what features you can’t compromise on and where your priorities lie. If you must have three bedrooms or will not consider a house on a busy street, make your requirements clear up front.
  7. Know what you can be flexible on.
    When you make your list of must-haves, think too about areas where you can compromise. If you’d love a fireplace or prefer a kitchen island, recognize if these are features you can live without if other areas of the home suit your needs.
  8. Decide how much work you can do and afford.
    If you walk through a home and start imagining tearing down walls or adding in bathrooms, make sure you are realistic about your home improvement abilities and the costs involved. How much remodeling are you truly willing to undertake?
  9. Consider nearby amenities and commutes.
    Think about how close you’d like to be to a grocery store, park, restaurants or anywhere else you frequent. You’ll also want to review commutes to work, school and other common locations. Evaluate what type of lifestyle your potential new home would offer.
  10. Keep your emotions in check.
    Try to avoid falling in love. Those strong feelings can cloud otherwise sound judgement, and you could end up with an impractical purchase. Rather, evaluate a home based on your needs and budget to decide if it’s the right house at the right price.

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