How to Choose a Home
Here are some tips to help determine which house is best for you.
Once you've settled on a couple of preferred neighborhoods for your
home search, it's time to pick out a few homes to view. Having a house
features “wish list” keeps you focused on which features are most
important to you.
When narrowing down your home search, consider the following:
- know what types of home you want to buy
- determine what age and condition of the house you want to buy
- consider resale potential
- use a features wish list to keep focused
- use a home search comparison chart to keep organized
- act decisively when you find the right home
Determine What Type of Home You Want to Buy
There are several forms of home ownership: single-family homes, multiple-family homes, condominiums and co-ops.
Single-family homes: One home per lot.
Multiple-family homes: Some buyers, particularly
first-timers, start with multiple-family dwellings, so they'll have
rental income to help with their costs. Many mortgage plans, including
VA and FHA loans, can be used for buildings with up to four units, if
the buyer intends to occupy one of them.
Condominiums: With a condo, you own "from the
plaster in." You also own a certain percentage of the "common elements" -
staircases, sidewalks, roofs, etc. Monthly charges pay your share of
taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and
maintenance. A homeowner’s association administers the development.
Co-ops: In some cities, cooperative apartments are
common. With co-ops, you purchase shares in a corporation that owns the
whole building, and you receive a lease to your own unit. A board of
directors, comprised of owners and elected by owners, supervises the
building management. Monthly charges include your share of an overall
mortgage on the building.
Decide What Age and Condition of Home You Want to Purchase
Weigh your needs, budget and personal tastes in deciding whether you
want to buy a newly constructed home, an older home or a "fixer-upper"
that requires some work.
Consider Resale Potential
As you look at homes, you may want to keep in mind these resale considerations.
- One-bedroom condos are more difficult to resell than two-bedroom condos.
- Two-bedroom/one-bath single houses generally have less appeal
than houses with three or more bedrooms, and therefore have less
- Homes with "curb appeal," i.e., well-maintained, attractive and
with a charming appearance from the street, are the easiest to resell.
- The most expensive houses on the street, or ones with anything
unusual or unique are not suited for resale. The best investment
potential is traditionally found in a less expensive, more moderately
Use a Features Wish List to Keep Your Search Focused
Make a features wish list to clarify which features are most and
least important to you when looking for a home. Using this features wish
list will keep your house hunt focused and effective.
Use a Home Comparison Chart to Keep Your Observations Organized
While house hunting, it's a good idea to make notes about what you
see because viewing several houses at a time can be confusing. Use a
home comparison chart to help you keep track of your search, organize
your thoughts and record your impressions.
Act Decisively When You Find the Right Home
Before you begin the home buying process, resolve to act promptly
when you do find the right house. Every REALTOR® has stories to tell
about a couple who looked far and wide for their dream home, finally
found it, and then said, "We always promised my Dad we'd sleep on it, so
we'll make an offer tomorrow." Many times the story had a sad ending -
someone else came in that evening with an offer that was accepted.
Resolve that you will act decisively when you find the house that’s
clearly right for you. This is particularly important after a long
search or if the house is newly listed and/or underpriced.