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Top Four Considerations When Buying a New Home

Making the decision to start shopping for a new house can be exhilarating—but also nerve-wracking. For most people, buying a house is the biggest investment they will ever make and the most debt they will ever assume, all swirled together in one fell swoop. And while the concept of value (financially-speaking) may be an important one for buyers, other practical and essential considerations have to be made in the course of a home purchase as well.

The first decision a buyer needs to make is how much house they want to buy. Throughout much of America’s history, bigger has always seemed better. The size of one’s house was typically a direct reflection of the owner’s success, with rolling lawns and expansive square footage serving as symbols of a household’s power and net worth. But as energy prices have continued to climb, water shortages have become more of a concern, and consumers have been made more environmentally aware, the trend seems to be toward going smaller. Buying a home that is big enough to be comfortable but modest enough to keep the utility bills reasonable—as well as the maintenance manageable—has become a foremost concern among today’s more savvy homebuyers.

Commute time is another important factor. While a 45-minute or hour-long commute may not sound like a lot, the reality of spending an hour and a half or two hours per day driving back and forth to work can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Fuel costs, wear and tear on your car, and the realities of snarled traffic also need to be factored in. If you work at home, then the house should have the space to function as a dedicated office. For most people, having a desk in the living room is not conducive to productivity.

The future is also a prime consideration when making the move into homeownership. If you currently have a family or plan to start one, it’s important to consider whether or not the house is located in a kid-friendly area with local parks, good schools, and other families. Even details like the presence or lack of sidewalks, the proximity to school grounds, and the presence of a transit system or bus line can be important when evaluating a home’s suitability for your family.

Once you have a good idea of the size of house you want, the kind of neighborhood you are looking for, and the proximity in relation to work, it will be easier for your real estate agent to find properties that are a good match. Which brings us to our final consideration – the team with which you choose to work. It’s important to find a suitable agent who can help you explore your options for purchase in a target area, settle on a property, develop an offer, and guide you through the contract and financing steps of buying a property. Look for an agent or realtor with whom you connect, and who seems to “get” what you’re looking for, what you need, and, most importantly, what you definitely don’t want in a home. A successful working relationship with your agent can make all the difference in the world, and can help you stay on track in your adventure to buy a new home.

See Also: Tips for a First-time Homebuyer – about.com

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