The process of buying a home always begins with, as you might have guessed, finding new homes to buy. House-hunting can be an exhilarating prospect for some, and a nightmare for others. But whichever way you feel, it can help to break the process down into manageable pieces, so you can step back at the end of it and objectively stack up the pros and cons.
The Neighborhood. Knowing where you want to live is every bit as important as the house itself. Proximity to work is, of course, important, as is the school district and nearest grocery stores, but those are all things you can learn from Google Maps. In order to really get a feel for a neighborhood, you have to actually go there — drive the streets, see how the light comes through the trees… just try as best as you can to get a vibe.
The Curb Appeal. This is your first impression of a house as you stand on the sidewalk. Where is your eye drawn? Was this the house you were hoping would match the number as you turned down the street? How do the trees look? Think about how you’d describe it to a friend who was asking for directions: would it be the house with the dirty blue siding, or would it be the cute little Cape Cod with the brick walk? New home buying is about finding your special place, and the first impression is more important than a lot of people give it credit for.
The Inside Story. Interestingly enough, in the entire process of buying a home, the interior can often be the least important factor. This is because it’s the most flexible aspect of your new home. It can be incredibly difficult to see past someone else’s lifelong accumulation of stuff and visualize the space as you’d want it to be. Try to focus on room size, layout, storage, and natural light, and try to ignore the ugly furniture and questionable wallpaper.
If you need advice when buying a home, you can certainly talk to your realtor, but be sure to talk to close friends who have homes you’ve always admired. Did they put a massive amount of work into it? Or were they lucky enough to find a new home that seemed ready-made for them? The process of buying a home is often long and complicated, but the more information you have, the more likely you’ll be to find the home of your dreams. More on this topic.