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How to Decide on a Home


Below are features every prospective home buyer must consider.

  • Does the Style of the house matter?
  • What size of home do I need?
  • How many bathrooms do I need? How many would I like to have?
  • How many square feet?
  • Does the age of the house matter?
  • What sort of lot would I like? (Small yard, fenced, garage, patio/deck, etc.)
  • How many bedrooms do I need? How many would I like to have?

Special features are less important than the basics, however, most home owners have at least a few they’re not willing to compromise on.

  • Do I have pets to consider?
  • What features are important in your new house? (air conditioning, Fireplace, Playroom, Basement, Dining room, Workshop, etc.)
  • Do I have special medical conditions that require certain accommodations?

Your budget will help to determine what features you are looking for when considering your home.

  • How much can I afford to spend?
  • Am I willing to do any renovations?

Some home buyers are disposed to compromise on location, and for others location is everything.

  • What general area or community do I want to live?
  • Are schools a factor?
  • Am I willing to commute a large distance to work?
  • Is public transportation important?
  • Which amenities should be close by? (Grocery store, park, airport, etc.)

Common Questions

Should I Get Pre-Approved for a loan first?
Getting Pre-approved allows you to establish a price range and lets the seller know you’re in a position to purchase their property. It can also help limit the time once the purchase agreement is signed between you and the seller.

If you choose not to get pre-approved you are at risk of not being able to afford the homes you are looking at and the possibility of already spending money on home inspections for a house you cannot own. There is also the risk of having to offers on the same property, in the case that one buyer is pre-approved they will more than likely be the ones to get the property.
How much is my home worth?
There are two ways to determine your home’s value, both officially (court official) and unofficially. An official appraisal and comparative market analysis will vary in cost; they average about $300 for a single family home and increase in price for multi-family units. Appraisers base information on previous sales of similar properties including their location, square footage, construction, excess land, views, water frontage and features such as garages, fireplace, etc.
What are my obligations to disclose?
Sellers often disclose whether the work done on the house meets local building codes and permits required, the presence of any noises or nuisances which a future buyer might not notice such as any restrictions on the use of property, etc. The seller’s written disclosure prior should provide any answers to unsatisfied questions on proper disclosure of information.
What can I do if my house isn’t selling?
Condition and price are the two most important factors in selling a home. Usually the problem can be solved by a price adjustment. Unrealistic prices are usually formed from a sellers ‘ideal’ of what the house is worth. The second factor condition will affect how buyers perceive how much the house is worth. Bad odors like mold or smoke are just some examples. You need to be willing to fix these bad conditions or lower the price accordingly.
What should I do to get my house ready?
The first step and arguably the most important step is tidying up counters, walls and rooms. Clutter can distract the buyer and make it difficult for them to picture their own belongings spaced throughout your house. Making sure the basic appliances and fixtures work including the doorbell is also important for the future prospective buyers’ opinions on your property. Temporarily hide the kitty litter or place fresh flowers or food throughout the house to ensure the house smells good.
As a Buyer what should I have inspected?
You will want to know as much as possible about the property before purchasing. It is important to hire a professional to do the inspecting for proper advice on the condition of the property. Prices for an inspection can range but average at around four-hundred dollars ($400). An inspection should cover structural defects, environmental hazards, roof condition, electrical systems, plumbing systems, mechanical systems and any infestations.
Should I make repairs?
There is never any obligation to repair your property before you list it, however all repairs will do is increase your profit. Buyers can include an “inspection clause” in the purchasing contract which allows them to withdraw their offer if inspections reveal any type of defect. Any problems will just result in a lower selling price, as the selling price must be adjusted appropriately considering defects.
Is there a best time to sell my house?
The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the final price and the amount of time it takes to sell your house. Often during the fall and especially the spring is when the real estate market begins to pick up, as potential buyers often vacation during the summer and winter months. You will have the best results if you house is available to be shown to buyers continuously until it sells.