Seven tips for finding the right home

By Shuyi Wang

As you consider buying a home, make sure you consider your needs and what you can afford first. (Image courtesy of Flickr user Jason Pratt.)

We have some tips to help future homebuyers to finding the right home in today’s market. Much of it is common sense, but here are seven tips that may not always be apparent:

 

  1. Don’t buy without an agent. In today’s technology-driven world, it’s easier than ever to go it alone, relying on sites like Trulia (www.trulia.com),Realtor.com (www.realtor.com)and even social media. However, while you’re likely to get a lot of data, without representation, you risk missing out on analysis and negotiating skills.

 

  1. Consider the neighborhood too. For many people, what’s most important in a neighborhood is “safety and proximity to work, good schools, family and friends.” While those things are critical to your long-term happiness, there should be other considerations too.

 

  1. Know what suits you, and be honest. Beyond the obvious (like the number of rooms), you have to determine what floor plan suits you. An open floor plan can be great for entertaining or keeping track of children. If, on the other hand, your family members want more privacy or you want to contain or manage clutter, then a traditional house with more walls is better. It may be better for zoned heating and air-conditioning too.

 

  1. Know the trends, but think twice. McMansions and three-car garages were once the rage, but they have since lost some of their allure — as many trends do. Personal preference should take precedence over trends or even resale value. What matters most is, “Do you like the space? Can you live with the space?

 

  1. Delve further into the house. When it’s time for a house inspection, accompany the inspector. The inspector will not only reveal issues with the home but will tell you how the home operates. Meet with the sellers prior to close of escrow, too, so they can explain how things work. This could range from tips on the heating and cooling systems to making sure you know where the owners’ manuals are for appliances.

 

  1. Investigate homeowners associations (HOAs) and condos. Talk with the other owners in the neighborhood or complex and ask them how well the complex is managed. Understanding condo regulations is even more important: How many parking spots are there? What about pets? And make sure the association or condo is financially able to make needed repairs.

 

  1. Be realistic. No house is perfect, even when people build their own. Be realistic and keep asking yourself, “Does this work?”

 

If you have found the right home for you and want to buy a home but assume you won’t qualify for a mortgage, it’s worth a closer look.

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