Deciding which house to buy is a huge decision.
After all, it’s one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make, and you’ll likely spend years in your new home. It’s no wonder why many buyers, especially first-timers, worry over whether or not they’ve managed to find “the one” and if it’s worth submitting an offer.
We’ve put together four questions to help you determine whether or not you've found the "right house". Keep them in mind as you go on showings. They’ll help you keep your priorities straight so that you can go about becoming a homeowner with your best foot forward. But, the reality is that there's never just "the one."
With enough patience, you'll be able to find one of the "right ones" for you.
1. Will this house check off your must-haves?
When buying a home, there will likely be a specific set of needs that you’ll want your new property to fulfill.
If you haven't yet, come up with a list of these deal breakers. Everyone’s list is unique to the them, but many people consider things like making sure there are enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate your whole family or choosing a property close enough to work for a stress-free commute.
After you have your priorities written down, be sure to actually stick to them. It can be easy to be swayed by any recent updates and glamorous improvements that you may see at open houses.
However, at the end of the day, if the house doesn’t meet your basic requirements, it’s not the right fit.
2. Does it have potential?
Even if you've found a house that checks off your most important must-haves, there will likely be some element of compromise.
The next thing you’ll want to ask yourself -- is there is the potential to assuage some of those compromises over time?
For example, do those compromises include saving up to redo the kitchen or to put in new hardwood floors? Or, would you have to consider something more drastic, like putting a full addition on the lot?
When thinking about a home’s potential, you should consider how much work you’ll have to put into it in order to make yourself happy. Then, ask yourself if that amount of work is realistic for you -- and be honest.
As a general rule, aesthetic changes are considered more manageable than structural or functional ones.
3. Do you like the area?
Remember that buying property doesn’t exist in a vacuum. When you purchase a home, you’re also agreeing to become part of the neighborhood.
Before you make an offer on a home you’ll want to take a long, hard look at the surrounding area and see if you’re happy with the amenities it offers, as well as the overall feel.
We recommend taking a drive around the area before you submit an offer. Be on the lookout for essentials like the closest bank and grocery store. Plus, keep an eye out for any fun hotspots like nearby restaurants and bars. You may also want to do some follow-up research on things like the quality of the school district if you have or plan to have kids, as well as overall crime rates.
4. Does it fit your future?
Whether you’re looking to buy your forever home or your just-for-now home, purchasing real estate is an investment.
With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that any home you consider purchasing is a good fit for you now and for the foreseeable future.
Ask yourself: when you think about your future, do you see yourself in this home for at least the next five years?
Keep that timeframe in mind as you look at potential listings. In the event that your planning for any life changes like a marriage or new family members, it may be best to plan for those details in your home search.