4 Features to Consider before Buying a Home

Buying a home can be very challenging because it is both a financial decision and a personal decision. Sometimes the home you fall in love with is not the best investment. To help make the decision easier, you can make a priority list of the necessities and luxuries you are looking for. Financial considerations, such as price, should always fall in the necessities category. However, there are some personal concerns that should also be addressed as necessities.

#1 Location and Neighborhood

One of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of a home is to change your search to a less desirable location. Yet even though this can save you thousands of dollars, it is not always the best choice. Consider items such as the school district if you have children, the commute you will face to your job and even the general enjoyment you would find in the neighborhood of your choice. Remember that location is the best investment; dollars spent toward buying in a good location will nearly always come back at the time of sale. If you consider purchasing in a more affordable area, look for areas in transition that may give you big returns.

#2 Size, Rooms and Layout

You likely know the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need for yourself or your family. This is not an area of compromise, and this should always fall on the necessities side of your wish list. You should consider square footage. However, it is important to realize that the layout of a home can be as important as the square footage. Older homes tend to have more hallways and walls, while modern layouts tend to be more open. An open floor plan can make a smaller space feel much larger. Keep this in mind when you consider square footage needs.

#3 Safety and Maintenance Concerns

If a property is under-maintained, you may end up spending far more on repairs than you had anticipated. This is a particular concern if you are purchasing a bank-owned property or a short sale. These properties tend to be less maintained because the former homeowners either lacked the resources or the motivation to keep the property in good condition. Always have a home inspection to review items like the state of the roof, electrical system, plumbing and even the foundation. If an issue arises with one of these aspects of the home, particularly a safety issue, the repair will be necessary and costly.

#4 Upgrades and Amenities

Most upgrades, such as hardwood floors or stainless steel appliances, should be on the want rather than need side of your checklist. However, there may be some items you should spend the extra money on now to avoid spending it in the future. For example, if the kitchen of a home you are viewing is in need of a complete remodel, you may realize you do not want to take on that project. Know the limits of where you will compromise on luxuries, and you should be able to make a sound financial and personal decision.