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Home Buying Tips: How to Determine What's Important to You

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Written by: Henry Moore

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Are you thinking about buying a new home? Before jumping into the house-hunting process, it’s important to decide what you’re looking for in a new place. There are so many factors to consider! Are you looking to move somewhere new? Do you want to live in the city or the country? How much space do you need? What kind of layout would be ideal? Realtor Linda Ruppe of Lake Home Realty presents the following tips to help answer those questions.

To Rent or Purchase?

The very first thing you need to decide is whether you will be renting or buying a home. If you’re moving to a brand new city, consider renting for a while until you’re sure you want to put down roots in the community. If you’re certain you want to stay for at least 5 years, buying a home might make sense. However, renting is a better option if you want the freedom to pack up and move whenever you like.

Assessing your financial situation will also help you decide between renting and buying. You’ll have to put extra care into financial planning if you’re thinking about buying in a more expensive real estate market. Estimate your home affordability, check your credit score, and calculate your debt-to-income ratio. You can calculate your debt-to-income ratio by dividing your total monthly debt obligations by your gross monthly income.

Location Factors

Location is the most important factor to consider when looking for a new home. Make sure you wind up close to the things that matter most to you, whether it’s a local coffee shop where you can work remotely or hiking trails where you can spend your weekends. Think about your hobbies and interests. Choose a location where you and your family will be able to enjoy all the  things you want to do! Realtor Linda Ruppe can help you find the perfect location that fits your family’s lifestyle and needs.

Home Warranty or No Home Warranty

If you’ve ever had to foot the bill for home repairs, then you know these costs can add up quickly. Without a home warranty, you could find yourself on the hook for the whole thing. With a home warranty, however, you’ll get a little assistance with home repairs, including electrical, plumbing, and appliance repair. There are many different home warranties to choose from, so spend a little time and check out reviews for the home warranties you're considering. This is the best way to ensure you’re getting a warranty that will help when you need it most.

The Size of the Home

After location, home size is the next thing you should think about. Don’t buy a home bigger than you currently need, even if you can afford it. Bigger homes mean more responsibilities, higher costs, and more stuff. Aim to find a home that fits your family perfectly instead of stretching to fit the biggest home you can afford.

Remember to consider your expected family growth when determining the right home size for your needs. Will you be expecting kids in the future? Will your kids be moving out soon? Will a parent be moving in? Changes to your household composition can make your home feel too big or too small, so try to think ahead!

Layout Considerations

Finally, it’s time to think about the layout. The layout of your home can affect everything from lighting to accessibility, so consider your options carefully. If you’re planning to age-in-place in this home, make sure the layout will accommodate any modifications you may need to make in the future, like adding an entrance ramp or moving the master bedroom to the main floor. Don’t forget about the layout of the home’s outdoor living spaces and surrounding landscaping.

If you might want to sell this home in the future, The Balance cautions against buying a home with layouts that may turn off potential buyers. For example, people tend to dislike bedrooms located directly off the dining room and satellite living rooms that feel disconnected from the rest of the home.

Although you’re likely excited to get out there and start looking for your new home, try not to rush the process. Buying a home is a big decision! The last thing you want is to wind up in a place that feels like the wrong fit for your family. Think carefully about what’s important to you, from layout to home warranty, so you can find your dream place!

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