When it’s time to buy a house, there are several things to think about besides your financing or ability to get a mortgage. In fact, these two factors should only form the borders of your decision. Within those borders, there are other important factors that will determine how much you enjoy your new home.
1. Proximity to an Urban Area
Whether you love being in or near a city, or you don’t want there to be a city closer than 50 miles from you, it is important to choose a home that is located amongst your preferred surroundings. This is essential to feeling comfortable.
2. Local Schools
If you have children, you’ll want the local school district to be high quality, or alternatively, you’ll want good charter or private schools in the area.
3. The Neighborhood’s Personality
Some neighborhoods are extremely friendly and social, while in other places, people would rather keep to themselves. Try to figure out which type a neighborhood has before you buy, and if they don’t match your personality, keep looking.
4. The Immediate Neighbors
This is one of the hardest aspects to find out in advance, but if you can do it, find out what they’re like. When you walk up to a prospective house, be observant: Do you hear dogs barking? Is someone staring at you through the window? Are the yards normal, immaculate, or messy? If you see anything that would bother you if you had to deal with it all the time, keep looking. On the other hand, if you find that the neighbors’ habits are much like your own, put that house on your short list.
5. The Condition of the House
If you’re looking to save money, you’ll likely consider buying a house that’s in less than pristine condition. You might even consider a fixer-upper. In this case, be sure to add a few thousand dollars (or much more, for a true fixer-upper) to your budget. This will ensure that you have the money to complete all needed repairs, and have a good standard of living in exchange.