Whether you are looking to move or are interested in buying your first home, it’s always important to go into the search process educated, prepared, and informed. As is the case for most people, your home will probably be your biggest financial asset – so it’s important not to go at it blindly. Let’s look at seven of the things every home buyer should consider before signing the dotted line.
Every other choice you make will stem from proper and accurate budgeting. Before stepping foot in an open house or searching through listings online, it’s important – and necessary – to develop an accurate figure. Notice the word here is figure and not range. When people deal with a price range, the elasticity of the numbers sometimes makes it easy to overshoot what you can realistically spend.
Start the budgeting process by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. The right Lender will tell you what you’re allowed to buy and then you can sit down with your family and discuss what’s affordable for your budget. Remember, you’ll probably be making payments for 15, 20, or even 30 years. What’s going to be affordable now and down the road?
When looking to get pre-approved consider asking your Realtor® who the more reputable local lenders are and start with those.
Location, Location, Location
The location of your future home matters for a number of reasons. First, you’ll be living there and want to make sure you genuinely enjoy the area. Second, it’s important to consider value. When it comes time to sell, should you realistically expect to get more than you’re paying for the home now?
If you are already in the area consider by driving through nearby streets and examining houses, yards, and parks. Does it look like neighbors take pride in their properties? Are homes taken care of or falling apart? Next, you should read up on the schools in the district. Even if you don’t have children, good schools can really affect a home’s value in the future.
Deciding on the Deal Breakers
As a single person buying a home, you have the advantage of only having one decision maker. When you have a family, everyone has a say and things get a little more complicated. For the families out there, it will be extremely crucial to decide on the “deal breakers” before looking at homes.
Deal breakers will be those things every home must have to be considered. These could be things like a three car garage, big front porch, three full bathrooms, renovated kitchen, finished basement, large yard, red brick, or any other feature. Deal breakers don’t have to be physical in nature, either. They could deal with emotional or financial needs, as well.
As soon as you realize you’re interested in a home and before you make an offer on the home, you will want to visual inspect the home for any major issues. Keep an eye out for the following things:
Cracks in the foundation – both internally in the basement and outside
Water damage or mold in the basement or ground floor
Issues with major plumbing or electrical systems
Poor floor plan with walls that need to be removed
Major termite or carpenter ant damage (not common in the greater Colorado Springs area).
If you spot any of these things, it is some times best to walk away or at least hire a qualified inspector to investigate further. While many of these issues are fixable, many will come with a hefty price tag.
Keep in mind once you have decided on a home and are under contract, regardless of your personal inspection, you will want to hire a qualified Home Inspector for a full report and assessment of the home.
While you will want to avoid major issues with the structure, easy-fix issues can be good. These issues aren’t serious in nature and will usually allow you to get a discounted price. Once you purchase the home, some simple fixes can be made to increase your ROI (Return On Investment). Examples of easy-fix issues include:
Poor landscaping and curb appeal that can be improved
Scuffed and worn hardwood flooring that can be refinished
Unfinished basement with all plumbing and electrical systems in place
Interior paint that needs touching up
Back porch in need of repair
All of these sorts of things are usually simple, inexpensive fixes that should allow you to get a discount on the selling price of the home. Learning to differentiate between easy-fixes and major structural problems will be an advantage in the buying process.
Testing the Commute
This may not be your biggest need, but it is an extremely practical factor to consider. What is the commute to work like? Will traffic be a major issue, or are you able to sneak around on the back roads? While this may or may not be a deal breaker, it is certainly worth considering for those that spend a great deal of time on the road. If you travel often for work, you may also consider your driving distance to the interstate or airport.
Are You Happy?
A house can check off on a list of criteria, but the real question is whether or not it’s going to make you happy. Some houses simply feel right, while others don’t feel like they could ever be “home.” Even when a home checks out and meets all of your requirements and stipulations, it’s important to look at the intangibles. Will you be comfortable, satisfied, and happy? If the answer is a resounding yes, you’ve probably found what you’re looking for.
Ashford Realty Group
At the Ashford Realty Group, we specialize in helping home buyers find the home of their dreams. Our trained real estate professionals sit down with all clients and discuss needs, wants, and desires before ever taking a look at a home. We want to know what’s important to you and will work from there.
Colorado Springs real estate is desirable and attractive, and we specialize in finding our clients homes in the area. Feel free to search for homes for sale in Colorado Springs on our website or contact us today. Unlike the big box home search sites, ours is directly connected to the local MLS. This ensures information is accurate, credible, and up-to-date. When buying a home, make sure you consider the Ashford Realty Group!7 Things to Consider When Buying a House.