A house is a piece of property. A home is where you sleep, entertain, relax, build a family and memories. With a few tips and a little research, you can take the home search and turn it into a treasure hunt!
Things to Know Before You Write The Offer
Safety What is the neighborhood like? Are there any sex offenders registered nearby? Who covers the 911 calls in the area? The local city police or the county? A simple app like Life360 can tell you what the crime is like in the area and whether or not there are any sex offenders living nearby. Make sure you talk to your Realtor about the jurisdiction the home is in. A safe neighborhood will help you feel like your home is your very own oasis of peacefulness.
Time Make sure your new home is convenient to the things important to you. Determine what that is. How close is the home to shopping, healthcare, recreation, schools or employment? Be clear about which areas you want to live. Another time factor is home size and property maintenance. The larger the home, the more work to keep it up with regular maintenance. Same for the yard. Be realistic about your time. If you don’t want every weekend taken up with chores, then look at a smaller home or consider a smaller lot size.
Expense The mortgage is only part of the cost of owning a home. What are the property taxes? What is the average electric bill in the home? Is there a well and septic or does the property have access to city water and sewer? Create a simple budget for each home. Is it affordable? Monthly expenses for homeowners can include: Water, Sewer, Garbage, Compost, Electricity, Natural Gas, Cable TV and Internet, Phone, Security System, and cost of monthly maintenance like home cleaning and landscaping services.
Functionality This depends on your family dynamic. You already know if you need room for kids or a dog, but what about visiting family? Do you need a bedroom on the main floor for older family members to stay? Do you need room for a play set in the back yard? How is the parking for your guests? Are you a gardener? Do you need an indoor studio space for your hobbies? What is the floor plan like? Is it functional for you and everyone living in the home? It can take time and walking through lots of homes to get a sense of what feels right.
Also, look at the functionality of the neighborhood. Are there restrictive covenants that would prevent you from owning large pets? Do the neighbors have noisy dogs? What about sounds, are there trains or freeways nearby to disturb your peace? Don’t forget smells! When the wind blows a certain direction is there a foul odor?
Even when the market is crazy and homes are getting multiple offers, you can still be competitive without compromising. Stay organized and realize what is important to you for the next 3-5 years. Some proper planning upfront will help you act decisively when the right home comes along!
These are just a few things you can consider when looking at homes. We've created a full list of 36 things you need to know before making an offer. Download this free checklist and use it to make the most important purchase of your life.