House-hunting can be tiring, especially if you’re relocating to a distant community and want to see a dozen homes in one day. There’s no sense in torturing your feet unnecessarily. Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. House-hunting can also be frustrating, especially if you know in your heart you’re not really emotionally or financially ready to buy a home. If you’re not ready, don’t put yourself through the exercise. Granted, buying a home is a major life-altering event. But it’s not worth making yourself insanely crazy or super-duper stressed. Save time at the end of your house-hunting expedition to unwind, calm your thoughts and emotions and keep the whole experience in perspective. Remember, try to fill out your checklist as thoroughly as possible, checking off all the appropriate features and noting anything in particular, good or bad, that will jog your memory later because after about the third or fourth house it’s easy to forget what you saw at the first one.
Some things to consider while you’re hot on the trail searching for that perfect home:
1. Location counts. You’ve probably heard the old real estate joke about “location, location, location,” but the point still bears repeating. Location is crucial. How far are you really willing to commute to your place of employment? How good are the local schools, shopping centers, public transportation, seniors services and other public amenities? Will your new home be next to a vacant lot or a commercial property? Even a picture-perfect dream home can be a mistake if it’s in an undesirable location, and a poor-location home can be a particularly bad choice if you anticipate reselling the home within a few years.
2. Think twice about fixer-uppers. Look carefully at properties that need work and think about what it will really cost. You may want to opt for a house that needs cosmetic fixes, not major remodeling.
3. Avoid choosing an inferior floor plan for an attractive exterior. Always choose a great floor plan over a great exterior because you’ll spend far more time inside the house than outside and it’s a lot easier and cheaper to make an exterior attractive than change a floor plan.
4. Trade-offs. Have enough flexibility to accommodate trade-offs. Your goal is to find the right home for your family without falling in love with the one that doesn’t suit your needs. However, try to keep trade-offs to a minimum and try to stick as close as possible to your Wish List. Too many trade-offs can make that “picture-perfect” home a regrettable bad choice if it doesn’t suit your needs.