Section 2: Needs & Desires
After deciding to buy a home, what sort of home it is to be is the next decision point. You must ensure that all of your needs are met, but there may be some desires that you will let go due to affordability.
Before starting your hunt for a new home, it is advisable to make a list of your needs and desires, then rank the desires by priority. Realize that it is nearly impossible to meet all needs and desires within your budget. Compromise will be necessary.
I recommend to work in order of outside-the-house factors to inside-the-house factors. For example, location is perhaps the primary concern for both "need" and "desire". A "need" might be within 25 miles from work. A "desire" might be a favorite neighborhood.
After location needs and desires are compiled, housing factors can be considered. Needs might include minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms, no steps, fenced yard,... Desires are features that make the home more attractive or enjoyable such as updated kitchen, pool, fireplace... Know your needs and desires so that you can easily assess potential properties while viewing them with your Realtor.
Buying a house is not a simple process. Much of the planning should be done well in advance of actually going to look at houses. Work out costs and decide your budget. Choose a general location. Contact lenders well ahead of home shopping so you know what you can afford.
Remember, desires can always be worked on later. A pool can be added, walls can be painted, doors and door handles can be changed...
Consider your pets when home-shopping. Pet owners have special requirements they must meet for their pets. It is essential that the neighborhood in which you are going to buy does not have restrictions against your pets. Some pet owners prioritize durable flooring or a fenced backyard of appropriate size. Area traffic might be another item to add to the checklist.
Location influences nearly every part of your life. Your home does not exist in a bubble. It is part of a bigger community. Your neighborhood must suit your needs.
Research areas by driving through them on different days and different times of the day. Make note of traffic patterns and volume. Roll down the windows as you drive through and listen. How far is it from schools, your favorite restaurants, shopping and other activities. Your home should be comfortable and comfort is not possible if the location is not suitable.