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What to Look For in a House

Understanding what to look for in a house can really help you land in a home that suits your needs, and budget. It is very easy to be distracted by flashy amenities or tempted by a home that could end up draining your finances for the duration of your mortgage. Developing a strategy that considers several aspects will assist you in identifying a great home.

What to Look for in a House

  • Access to Transportation: A home in close proximity to public transportation can save you time and money, if you choose to commute in this fashion. If you drive to work on a daily basis, looking for a home with a reasonable commute can eliminate time spent in your car on a daily basis, and save you from ever-escalating fuel and vehicle expenses.
  • The Neighborhood: While knowing what to look for in a house is important, the safety, location, and proximity to schools, shopping, recreational activities, and your friends/family should be considered as well. Research the quality of nearby schools if you have children, look up safety information, and check out how your neighborhood is laid out. Choosing a great neighborhood can really enhance your home ownership experience!
  • Size of the Home & Floor Plan: Is your dream home really practical? Will you be kicking yourself every month for 30 years because you stretched to the limits of the mortgage you qualified for? A large home can give you the space you’ve always wanted for a man cave, or a home studio, but you will end up paying higher heating bills, higher taxes and a higher monthly payment on your mortgage. It will take more time to clean. It will take more furniture to furnish and money to decorate. Think realistically about what you really need and whether you really want to pay for it for 30 years!
  • Windows: Whether you live in the north or south of the country, opting for windows that are large, insulated, positioned to soak in maximum sunlight, double-hung and well sealed will save you money. Large, numerous windows with southern exposure provide for natural lighting, thereby reducing the amount of time you have to use artificial lighting. Properly sealed windows will keep heat in your home in the winter and minimize AC air loss in the summer.
  • Quality Kitchen Appliances: Appliances are one of the most expensive parts of a home. Check out the age and condition of kitchen appliances in the home, as these factors will have a direct impact as to whether they will need to be replaced, or if they will need to be serviced anytime soon.
  • Quality Hot Water System: Is it in good condition and big enough for your needs? A hot water system is not one size fits all, as families use much more hot water than a single individual. Also check for any leaks, rust, or other signs of wear. Replacing a dilapidated hot water system can be costly and will be quite a nuisance if it must be done on short notice.
  • Outside of the Building: Take a look around the house and yard. Think about the privacy it offers, the possibility for extensions or additions, the suitability and condition of the garage, and the condition of the retaining walls, foundation, and roof. Any of these areas could add to the quality of your house, but they can also be red flags that are indicators of future financial headaches.

When you know what to look for in a house you stand a much better chance of ending up in your dream home. You are making a major decision when you agree to take on a mortgage for 30 years. Performing your due diligence is a key factor in the process; make a checklist of everything you want to inspect whenever you go to look at a potential home.