Now that you have been pre-approved and you have an understanding of how much you can afford for monthly payments, you are ready to define and search for your ideal home. It is important to be realistic about what home features you can afford. For example, if you are looking for a starter home, you may not get a gourmet kitchen or two car garage right away. However, the South Shore has enjoyed tremendous home appreciation with a steady demand for homes. This means that even a starter home is an excellent way to build equity and perhaps upgrade to a home in the future that has more of your ideal features.
A good realtor can help you obtain as many of your ideal features as possible, while remaining within your budget.
Make a list of features that you would like to see in your ideal home. When you start looking, you are going to realize that everything on that list will not be satisfied. For example, you may find a home that has large rooms, gas heat and a garage, but the home may not have the large yard that you are looking for. List your priorities as well as the things that you can live without. Its very hard to find a home that will satisfy all your wants.
Let's begin by making a wish list of what you are looking for and what is important to you. List your needs and wants with your highest priority at the top. Some things on your wish list may be the following:
- School System
- Public Transportation, such as Bus Line/ MBTA Subway or Commuter Rail
- Access to the Highway
- Main Road/ Side Road
- Close to Amenities (Supermarkets, Hospitals, Restaurants)
- How Many Bedrooms?
- How Many Baths?
- Are the Rooms Spacious?
- Is There Enough Kitchen Counter Space and Cabinets? If Not, is There Room to Add These?
- Do You Want a Big or Small Yard?
- Would You Like a Garage?
What you should look for when walking through a home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirements and wish lists, use this guidelines and consider the following:
- Is there enough room for both the present and the future? If not, is it possible to expand on the home?
- Does the home have enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Will the bedrooms fit your bed and bedroom furniture?
- Is the house structurally sound, i.e. does the foundation appear to be cracked or damaged? Does the roof appear to be rotted or uneven?
- Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
- Is the yard big enough?
- Do you like the floor plan of the home?
- Will your furniture fit? Bring a tape measure to confirm.
- Does anything need to repaired or replaced?
- Most importantly, picture yourself being in the home. Imagine yourself cooking in the kitchen, watching TV in the living room, etc.
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Remember, bring a tape measure and a notepad. Take notes on each house you see and list the pros and cons of each house. When looking at multiple houses, it is easy to forget the features of each house you see, and your notes will help you remember which houses you have questions about or would like to see a second time. Your real estate agent can help you point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.
What questions should I ask when looking at a home?
Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues.
- Does anything need to be replaced?
- What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g.,roof, HVAC, furnace, appliances,etc)?
- Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues
- Ask any and all questions that you may have. Make a list of questions ahead of time. This will help you organize your thoughts as well as keep track of the answers.
Now that you have an idea of a what you are looking for, look for a realtor who will make your home search a pleasant one.