With summer in full swing, many prospective homebuyers are feeling the heat. With interest rates creeping up and demand leveling out, there is constant pressure to find a home as quickly as possible. To make things worse, they may want to be in their new home before the start of the school year or face a deadline with their current lease. Regardless of the situation the goal is to buy a home you are comfortable with not only today, but for the foreseeable future as well.
Your real estate purchase is too important to settle for a property you don’t really love. This doesn’t mean you won’t may have to make concessions at times, but you should always be in love with the home you are buying. Instead of being fixated on price alone you should have a list of buying criteria specific to you. Your list should guide you in the process and help you find your dream home and, only after you have found the perfect property, do you worry about price. Here are three items to consider that may be more important than price.
Neighborhood. Everybody wants to be comfortable where they live. Getting a great deal won’t do you much good if you are constantly worried about being safe. The first order of business should be finding a good neighborhood you want to live in. It is a good idea to narrow your buying market down to three areas. To help choose the right market you should look at items such as crime statistics, strength of schools, employment data and local amenities. Whether you have children ready for school or not the strength of local schools will help predict demand, which will help determine value. The same is the case with employment. If a large corporation is leaving or coming to an area, it can mean hundreds of jobs either way. Buyers tend to go where jobs are and loss of jobs will decrease your value. The neighborhood and specific market should be the single most important factor in your home-buying decision.
House Specifics.It is easy to fall in love with some of the homes you see. If you are buying your first house there is a good chance that every house you look at is nicer than your current living situation. Instead of having a knee jerk reaction to something you see you should make a list of demands prior to starting your search. Every buyer has something they need to have to make the house feel right; it could be something as minor as a fireplace or something bigger like the yard. Focus on items that you cannot easily change or add. If you don’t like the layout you may be able to change it with just a little altering. However, items like the size of the yard, neighborhood or traffic on the street cannot be changed. The more specific you are with what you are looking for, the easier it is for your real estate agent to find it.
Taxes. As a home buyer it is important to know where local taxes may be headed. In most cases, local property taxes will not move much in either direction over the long haul. However, if there is a change in the economy or the budget, taxes will increase to make up for the shortfall. This change in revenues/budget all gets passed down to the homeowner in the way of higher taxes, which directly increases your monthly payment. Do some research to see which markets have had stable taxes over the past decade. Ask around if there are any new developments planned or if companies are coming or going. Any change in the economy will impact annual taxes. Once you have done your research, if all things are equal, choose the market with the most stable tax situation.
As a buyer, you should start with these three items and find a house that fits your budget. When you make an offer you want to be confident that you are getting the home you really want and not settling for anything less.