6 Things to be Conscious of when Buying a Home
Whenever I am showing clients homes that they may be interested in buying, I go through a mental check list of things to watch out for. If overlooked these things could be very costly and in the end my clients would not be completely satisfied. Here is my breakdown in order of importance.
#1 - Budget
Budget governs all of the rest of the decisions that can be made about a house. A proper pre-approval from a mortgage professional is key to knowing what you are approved for but a buyer has to know their own budget and stick to what they are comfortable spending per month. No one wants to be house poor and a captive to their mortgage. That being said, once you know what your budget is you can decide if you want to buy a move in ready house at the top of your budget or a “fixer upper” with a lower price tag.
#2 - Structure
The structure of a home is critical because if you buy a home with structural work needed, you will not necessarily get that money back when you go to sell the home. If you are aware of the structural needs before your purchase and offer accordingly, then you will be safe in making the improvements. But, if you buy a home and then find out you need to make it safe, then you will have to spend money that you will probably not recoup when selling. We look to see if the house seems to be sinking or the foundation is falling apart. We will also check to make sure the joists aren’t over spanned and they are still solid to hold up the floors. A good home inspector (and agent) will be able to notice these things to guide you.
#3 - Functionality
Ultimately you are going to have to live in the house that you buy so you better make sure that it is functional for you and your family. If you have 6 kids and are looking at a 2 bedroom house, you might want to consider that the bedroom situation does not function well with your particular family. When you are going through houses make sure you take the layout into consideration. Can you picture living there? Are the rooms big enough? Are there enough bathrooms? Do you want all the bedrooms on one floor or maybe put the teenagers in the basement bedrooms? If the house doesn’t work for you then don’t try to put a square peg into a round hole and move on to a home that is better suited to your situation.
#4 - Location
Some people will have this ranking much higher or even #1. Location can depend on many things; school zones, area of the city, town/country vs city, near bus routes, near university or college, etc. A professional realtor will be able to help you narrow down what locations are most important to you and concentrate your searches to those locations. Budgets can sometimes limit the areas that you can afford but there may be alternatives.
#5 - The Big 5
The Big 5 consist of the major expenses that houses have outside of structure. These include Roof, HVAC (furnace and A/C), Windows, Plumbing and Electrical. Always try to find out the age of the roof, furnace/A/C, and windows and try to determine their life expectancy. Make sure the wiring is not knob and tube and if it is aluminum then it should have an ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) certificate saying it is safe. Make sure there are no plumbing issues like galvanized pipes or leaking. These all have significant costs associated with them if they need to be replaced. Any offer that is submitted on a property has to take these into consideration.
#6 - Asthetics
I rank this last because, even though there is some cost associated with it, these are things that are relatively easy to change and can make the largest impact on your ROI (return on investment). I could write a whole separate article about #6 alone but I will keep this short. If you like the structure, functionality and location of the home and you take into account the Big 5 then the aesthetics are something you can change as your budget allows. Kitchens and bathrooms can be expensive to remodel but they have the highest ROI. Paint is relatively inexpensive and you can do most if it yourself (carefully). These are the things that start to make your HOUSE into your HOME and they don’t need to happen overnight, but of course you have to consider them when making an offer to stay within your budget.
As you go through a home have an eye for these things and make sure you have a trusted profession to help you out. If you have any questions or would like one of our professionals to help you buy or sell a home, please Contact Us and we will be happy to guide you through the process and make sure you make the right choice.
Remax Mobility Team