Think you’re ready to buy a house in today’s market? If you’re ready to leave renting behind for good and embrace the life of a homeowner, you have a lot of decisions to make. Buying a house is a fairly complex process, and you have so many options that it can feel a bit intimidating to get started — especially if you’re a first-time buyer.
To help you get a better grasp on exactly what kind of house you should be looking for, it helps to ask yourself a few questions to narrow your choices. Consider carefully and answer honestly, and you’ll walk away with a much clearer sense of the right house for you.
- What’s My Budget?
Money is the single biggest limiting factor when it comes to buying a house, so it doesn’t make sense to go any further into your house hunting without a clear idea of your budget. Consider your available savings for a down payment as well as what you could comfortably spend per month on the mortgage; then use an online calculator to figure out how much house you can afford. Once you know your limit, don’t torture yourself by looking at houses that are way over your budget — focus on what you can achieve today.
- How Much Do I Like to Drive?
Most people like to drive well enough when it means seeing friends or taking a vacation, but a daily commute to work is a whole other story. Think about the traffic in your area and the time it takes to get to work during rush hour, and use Google maps to figure out a radius around your workplace that you’re comfortable living in. Many people overestimate the toll that daily commute takes on their wellbeing, so it’s best to narrow the field of houses to ones closer to your office when in doubt.
- Do I Want to Buy or Build?
Buying a home gets you into a move-in-ready house much more quickly, but you may have to give up some modern features if you buy an older home. If you’re planning to build a home, you’ll have to choose between the convenience and affordability of a modular home and the wide-open design possibilities that come with an architect’s original design. A modular home can usually be erected more quickly than a stick-built one, so it can be a god, balanced choice.
- What’s My Style?
Paint and paper can be changed relatively easily, but the basic structure of your home is pretty permanent. It’s important to know whether you prefer traditional room or an open concept, for example, because this isn’t easily remodeled. You should also consider how you feel about old vs. new homes and if you have a favorite architectural period you’d like to shoot for when shopping for your dream house.
- What’s My Skill Set?
Traditional freestanding, single-family homes aren’t the only option, though they remain very popular. If you’re worried about taking on all that responsibility, choosing a condo with a homeowners’ association agreement can take things like landscape maintenance and snow removal off your plate. If you’re handy with tools and know a thing or two about electrical wiring and plumbing, you can get a good deal on a fixer-upper. Know what you can and can’t do on your own before committing to a house that needs a lot of love.
- What Are My Future Plans?
While it’s impossible to gaze into a crystal ball to know what’s coming, t’s important to do your best to choose a house that will meet your needs for at least the next five to ten years. If you’re thinking of starting a family soon, consider the number of bedrooms and the school districts you like. If you love animals, make sure the back yard is suitable for pets. After all, a house is a big investment, and it should make you happy for a long time to come.
Buying a house is a big deal, so you definitely want to be prepared. Ask yourself these questions, and if you have a partner or spouse, you’ll need to discuss both of your feelings about each of these issues — an be prepared to compromise when necessary if you don’t see eye to eye on everything. Once you know your stance on each of these six questions, it’s time to start scouring those realty websites to fin the land or house of your dreams. Once you know exactly what you’re looking for and the features you’re not willing to budge on, you can narrow your focus and zoom in on the very best house for you, your family and your budget.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.