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  • Alexander Wissel

How to Start Your New Home Search

Defining Your Home Search Criteria

  • Experienced agents can provide guidance, market insights, and help align your criteria with available home listings.

  • Consider your needs for space, location, amenities, and long-term goals.

  • Determine your affordability by considering income, savings, expenses, and additional costs like property taxes and maintenance.

Starting Your New Home Search. Source:
Starting Your New Home Search

Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade to a new place, buying a home is an exciting target to reach in life. But without a bullseye it’s impossible to know what to aim for. Determining what you want in a home early in the process will help you focus your search and save you time.

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of defining the criteria that will be important as you start your new home search.

To start your home search, begin by consulting with real estate professionals who can offer valuable guidance and assistance. Assess your lifestyle and future plans to determine your specific needs in terms of space, location, and amenities. Set a realistic budget by considering your financial situation and additional expenses. By defining your criteria, you can focus your search and increase the chances of finding a home that meets your needs and goals.

Consult with Real Estate Professionals:

When defining your home buying criteria, it's always helpful to consult with real estate professionals. Experienced real estate agents can offer valuable guidance, market insights, and help you navigate the complex process of buying a home. They can help you align your criteria with available listings and provide advice on negotiating offers.

As a Realtor, I will always recommend this step to someone buying a home for two reasons: One, your cost to pay the agent is covered by the listing making their service virtually free, and Two: because I’ve seen first hand how experienced professionals save clients time and money.

Assess Your Lifestyle and Future Plans:

Start by considering your lifestyle and future plans. Are you a young professional looking for a trendy urban loft? Or perhaps a growing family in need of extra space and good schools nearby? Your lifestyle and plans will dictate the size, location, and amenities you desire in a home.

Think about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Do you plan to have lots of kids, or lots of guests? Consider any other factors that impact your lifestyle and long-term goals.

Set Your Budget:

Before diving into the home search, it's essential to determine your budget. Consider your income, savings, and expenses to understand how much you can comfortably afford. This is where you want to bring in a loan officer who can answer your questions and qualify you for a mortgage. Remember to there are more expenses than just your mortgage downpayment and monthly payments.

There’s closing costs for your settlement and additional monthly costs like property taxes, maintenance, and insurance. Setting a realistic budget will narrow down your options and prevent you from falling in love with a home that is beyond your means.

Features and Amenities:

Make a list of features and amenities that are important to you. Think about the layout of the house. Do you like split foyers? – Do you know what one is? – or do you like split levels instead? Consider parking, lot size, community features and more when you’re building your list.

Do you prefer a move-in-ready home or if you're open to renovations and customization. Prioritize your list, distinguishing between "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves," to guide your decision-making process.

Location, Location, Location:

The location of your future home plays a pivotal role in your overall satisfaction. Think about the proximity to your workplace, schools, shopping centers, and other amenities important to you. Consider the neighborhood's safety, community, and potential for future developments in the area.

Do you need walkable access to parks or recreational facilities? Researching the area and visiting it in person can provide valuable insights into whether it matches your preferences.

Driving Times and Commutes:

Consider the driving times and commutes when defining your home buying criteria. Think about your daily routine and how far you are willing to travel for work, school, or other activities. Longer commutes can impact your quality of life, so it's important to find a location that offers reasonable travel times.

Take into account the proximity to major highways, public transportation options, and the traffic patterns in the area. By factoring in driving times and commutes, you can ensure that your new home is conveniently located for your everyday needs.

Socio-Economic Profile:

Another aspect to consider when defining your home buying criteria is the socio-economic makeup of a neighborhood. Different areas may have varying income levels, cultural diversity, and community resources. Research the socio-economic profiles of potential areas to see if they align with your preferences and values.

Consider factors such as access to healthcare facilities, parks, cultural institutions, and recreational activities. Finding a community that resonates with your socio-economic aspirations can enhance your overall living experience.

Schools and Safety:

For families or individuals planning for the future, the quality of schools and safety in the area are essential considerations. Research the local school districts, including their rankings, programs, and extracurricular activities. Evaluate the safety of the neighborhood by looking at crime rates and consulting with local law enforcement.

Consider whether the area has well-maintained sidewalks, street lighting, and a sense of community vigilance. Prioritizing schools and safety will ensure a nurturing environment for your children and provide peace of mind for you and your family.

Resale Value and Future Growth:

While buying a home is a personal decision, it's wise to consider the potential resale value and future growth of the area. This shouldn’t be high on your list, but it definitely should be a consideration.

Look for neighborhoods that have a history of appreciation and show promise for future development. This will not only provide peace of mind but also ensure that your investment retains its value over time.

Start You New Home Search!

Defining your home buying criteria is a crucial step in finding your dream home. Assessing your lifestyle, setting a budget, considering location, prioritizing features, and thinking about resale value.. there’s a lot to think about.

Remember to consult with real estate professionals who can guide you throughout the process. With a well-defined set of criteria, you'll be on your way to finding a home that meets your needs, preferences, and aspirations. Happy House hunting!


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