When you’re thinking about buying a home, in many cases, it’s not just the house itself that you need to take into consideration. If you’re in the 30% of people who are first time home buyers, there’s a lot to learn. You want to be looking at homes for sale in a desirable location — which can mean different things to different people. For some, the ideal neighborhood might include plenty of neighbors, easy access to the shops, grocery store, entertainment, etc., while for others, a more secluded home might be the perfect thing. In any case, it’s important to look at the surrounding area of your home and amenities when visiting a potential house for sale to get a feel for what your neighborhood, community, and accessibility looks like. Below, you’ll find some key things that many home buyers prioritize when shopping for a new home, questions you should ask the real estate agent, and what kind of house might be best for you.
What Does a Desirable Location Really Mean?
Like mentioned above, it can often mean many different things, depending on your stage of life, interests, and habits. For example, an ideal location for families with children might be in a good school district, while couples without kids or elderly couples, may want to find a location without those high school taxes. Proximity to grocery stores, shops, movie theaters, parks, and other recreational activities is usually a big draw, especially with families.
However, most people don’t want to hear a high volume of highway or other traffic noise and a nice view from at least the majority of the house is important. A desirable location also usually has a safety aspect to it as well — everyone should feel safe in the community or neighborhood and feel comfortable coming in and out late at night.
What Kind of House Should I Be Looking At?
Luxury townhomes are becoming increasingly popular, for younger families or those looking to downsize. They tend to be relatively low maintenance, compared to a single-family home, while still being a bit more spacious or luxurious than an apartment. Furthermore, they offer access and convenience to their residents, and often form their own small communities, which can be great for meeting other people.
If it’s just the two of you, an apartment might be the perfect size. You don’t need all the space of a single-family home and if you choose to rent, the flexibility can be a perk. Even if you choose to buy, an apartment will cost less than a home, on average.
Families, of course, tend to gravitate towards a single-family home, which offers space for the kids to grow (plus friends), a little extra privacy, and often a yard for kids to play in.
Depending on your needs, any one of these options might be the best for you and it’s always possible to downsize or move into a larger space, if you find yourself outgrowing your current living situation.
What Should I Be Asking Our Real Estate Agent?
If you’re seriously interested in a house, you might start feeling the pressure to jump on it quickly before anyone else can. However, you still want to do your due diligence and make sure you know what you’re buying. Checking to see if pipes have been broken before, the age of the roof, and any prior infestations will let you have a more accurate picture of how much upkeep/maintenance you’ll have to invest in.
You should also ask about any warranties (and where they’re kept), the state of the septic tank, and what monthly utility costs look like. In terms of the surrounding area (especially if you’re new to the area), asking about taxes, the school system, any safety issues in the area, and whether you need to adhere to Homeowner’s Association guidelines are all good things to know.
In short, buying a house is not just about the home! You want a desirable location — whatever that means to you — and to make sure that all your priorities are met. Asking the questions now will make things easier in the long run.