How To Decide If A Home Is Right For You
Avoid the square footage trap
“Sometimes buyers get hung up comparing houses on the market based on square footage. That’s a good starting point but a 2,000-square-foot house with 10-foot ceilings is often going to cost more than one with 10-foot ceilings. And a house with granite countertops will often list for more than one with low-cost finishes,” says Cindy Jones of Crawford Olson Real Estate in of McCall, Idaho
Don’t expect perfection
“It’s nearly impossible to find a perfect house,” says Pat Trainor of Coldwell Banker of High Country Realty. “And it’s rare for a buyer to walk into a home and say it’s perfect in every way.” So think in terms of how you can make this your perfect home by making few changes to the things you don’t like
Choose a floor plan, not the finishes
“You can change out finishes, such as tile, paint and countertops, for less money than changing a floor-plan. Choose a house with a dining room, kitchen and living area that are the right size for your life, then tweak the finishes later,” says Cindy Jones of Crawford Olson Real Estate in McCall, Idaho.
Choose from what’s available (or wait)
After looking at several houses, ask yourself which house is the best choice available. “Usually one will stand out for you,” says Pat Trainor of Coldwell Banker of High Country Realty. If you still don’t feel like it’s time to buy, wait for another home to come to market, expand your search criteria, or adjust your expectations.
Don’t choose based on investment
For most people, a house is also a home—a source of comfort, safety, happiness, entertainment and well-being. A home that’s a great financial investment is only a smart choice if it satisfies your need for home comforts, as well
Choose the neighborhood, not just the house
If you have to decide between a great house in an area that doesn’t appeal to you, or a house that’s slightly less appealing in a neighborhood of people with similar values, interests, and ages, choose the latter. “It can mean great social opportunities for the entire family,” says Pat Trainor.
Choose a house that speaks to you
“Even as a seasoned agent, when I walk into a house, I formulate an impression almost immediately,” says Pat Trainor of Coldwell Banker of High Country Realty. “Is this a happy house or does it depress me? Trust your first impression is always my advice.”
Include new furniture in your costs
Often, a new house feels like a new start and you’ll want new furniture to fill all those pretty rooms. Keep this in mind as you calculate your costs. If money’s an issue and you’re choosing between two houses, choose the one that will accommodate your existing furniture can be a wiser choice
Know your non-negotiables
Choosing a house requires lots of rational thought but certain things, even if they’re quirky or personal, need to be included in the decision as well. If hearing traffic in the distance will drive you crazy, or you don’t like the idea of malls and stores nearby, tell your agent early on that this is a non-negotiable.
Buy a life, not an address
No matter how lovely a home is, if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, it won’t make you happy in the long run. If you’re a hiker, a charming house near the city’s center won’t be a good match. If you love to cook, a lovely house with a tiny galley kitchen will eventually disappoint. And if you’re big entertainers, a house without decks, a big yard, and lots of room to park will become a frustration