What are some tips on how to choose your new home?

Asked by Jennie, Brownsville, TX Sat Aug 31, 2013

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Brian L. A.…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Hi Jennie :o)

Finding a new home can be exciting, but deciding what you truly need, want.and, just as importantly, can afford can be challenging...especially for the first time home buyer. Making these decisions begins with setting priorities among many different preferences. A home buyer must sort out Needs vs. Wants or Wants and Must Haves...It's important to know these BEFORE you begin your home search or you risk getting distracted or confused with all the choices that may not pertain to you.

Keeping in mind that upon making the decision to purchase a home a home buyers first steps should be finding a an experienced, full time, professional Realtor accredited in Buyer Representation...like an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) to counsel them and getting pre-approved for a loan with a solid local lender, the important consideration of "What Do You Want and Need in a Home?" can often get muddled especially with all the considerations and choices available.

Most homebuyers invariably face trade-offs and having an experienced, full time, professional Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) Realtor is key in helping a buyer sort out their options. He or she can also offer important insights specific to your local market and what considerations can affect the price and affordability of a home.

Here are some of the many of the home considerations you’ll want to discuss with your Realtor:

Basic Home Features
>Do you prefer a single-family detached home, townhome, condominium, or other type of property?
>Desired number of bedrooms and baths
>Preferences regarding kitchen, dining, family rooms, etc. and preferred home layout
>High-priority home features, such as kitchen appliances, fireplace, etc.
>Other types of rooms needed (e.g., a home office or a hobby space)
>Storage spaces (closets, basement, an outdoor shed, etc.)
>Need for a garage or parking space, and if so, for how many cars?

Refined Preferences
>Ranch, two story, split level, etc.
>Age and style of home (Victorian, bungalow, modern, etc.)
>How important is energy efficiency or other green home features?

Neighborhoods and Location
>Commuting considerations (to work, shopping, etc.)
>Proximity to desirable features (such as a community center, exercise facility, school, fire services, hospital, etc.)
>Views, how important is to find your ideal view (a mountain view, for example) or avoiding a bad one (a busy highway)?

Lot Characteristics
>Size and shape, including back, front and side yards
>Landscaping considerations like xeriscape or the need for open play areas, privacy, patio space, decking, etc.
>Home orientation, is it important for your home to face a particular direction?

Life Considerations - If you’ll be sharing your home with children, pets, live-in parents or others, how does this impact your housing preferences? Both now, and in the future? (For example, pets may require a fenced-in yard; older parents may dictate one-floor living.)
>What's a comfortable proximity to the neighbors?

Related Costs - Homeowner association restrictions and fees? Property taxes

Trade-offs - How much do you want to invest in a home beyond the purchase price, either financially or in terms of sweat equity, if you can’t find exactly what you want? Be VERY Careful here...especially as a first time buyer...because intent and action are 2 very different things and you don't want to purchase a 'Fixer Upper' with the intent of putting sweat equity into it only to find out you have neither the time or more importantly the knowledge to do it professionally...sloppy DIY projects can significantly harm a homes resale value and often impedes it from selling.
>Are you willing to consider other neighborhoods that provide better affordability?

Resale Value and Equity - How long do you plan to live in this home? How does this impact the type of home you will buy (New Build vs Existing as existing homes in many cases can often offer a better short term equity position than a new build that require significant initial investments...Landscaping, Decks/Patio, A/C, Window Coverings, Upgraded Fixtures, Appliances, etc...where equity must build to recover that initial investment) how much you’ll spend, and your choice of location?

I hope this provides some food for thought that you will find useful on how to go about choosing a new home

Brian L. A. Wess
Realtor®, Broker Owner
Military Relocation, Residential & Investment Specialist
Infinite Horizons Realty - Metro Brokers
Colorado Springs, CO
Direct: 719-528-6672
Web: http://www.BrianWess.com
1 vote
Mike Rosenha…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sun Nov 24, 2013
Hi Jennie,

Great question! In my opinion the most important thing you can do to choose a new home is to start by finding the right realtor. Find someone who is reputable and has the heart of a teacher. Your realtor is going to be your be your teammate through this whole process (and sometimes your coach). If you choose your realtor carefully, they'll be able to walk with you from finding the right lender to closing on your home and will continue to be there for you in the future. They will help you find the best home to fit your specific needs. There are some great answers on here. As you read through them, look for someone who you'd like to work with and who you think will do the best job for you. If you find the right realtor, you'll find the right home!
0 votes
Janie Walker, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Tue Sep 3, 2013
Hi Jennie,

Since I have purchased a few homes, and lost a few also I try to get as much for my money as I can. In having made mistakes in home purchases and as they says hindsight is 20-20, there are things I would look for if I was purchasing another home. If a 3 bedroom 2 bath would do I want a 4/2. I now would purchase a home with a finished basement not one I would have to do myself. I would like grass or at least a nice back and front yard. I now know I would prefer a 5piece bath and a larger than average master bedroom (i.e nothing smaller than a 12x14). I would want as much hardwood flooring and as little carpet as possible. I do like a nice size kitchen (preferably gourmet) even though I am not crazy about cooking. Generally, you can find what you are looking for in your price range if you look on a regular basis. Yes, you do need to find out the amount you can qualify for based on your income and debt ratio. A good agent is going to take the time to get to know what your preferences are and between him/her looking and you looking you should be able to find almost that perfect home. Do prioritize which of the above would be the most important to you.

If I can be of further assistance call me at 719-591-1575 - have a blessed day.
0 votes
Greg Toutouj…, , Great Neck, NY
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Hi Jennie,

Great question…

One of the first things you need to ask yourself is how much can you comfortably afford to spend on a new home. I would recommend speaking with a local lender or mortgage broker to prequalify for a loan to determine how much you can afford to spend on your home.

Location, location, location…

Since location is one of the major determining factors in the price you will be paying for your home. The next question you should ask yourself is where will you be happy and can afford to live. By answering this question you can then begin making a list of the things you need and want in your new home. I would try to limit the list to the top 10 things you need and want in a home.

Now take your list and the prequalification to a real estate agent in the area you are interested in moving, they will help you find your new home.

All the best,

0 votes
Kathryn Pier…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Hello Jennie, My folks retired in Rio Hondo and my husband and I are thinking about moving down there but the weather is just about the best you could hope for here. Don't think I could take the heat! Your best bet choosing a new home is to write down what you want, 3 bdrms, 2 baths, definitely a garage, etc. Then talk with a mortgage broker or two and bank/credit union to find out what you can qualify for and amount of payment you could live with without being "house poor." Then contact a broker in the area you're moving to and share your information, get to know them a bit and discuss what's important to you. They will be able to guide you through the entire process. All the Best!
0 votes
Leigh-Jo Anz…, Agent, Albuquerque, NM
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Hi Jennie,

In a nutshell, here are the top tips:

1) Get prequalified before you begin house hunting

2) Be sure to follow the first tip

3) Work with a real estate agent

4) Get all applicable inspections

5) Know your needs/wants and be flexible

6) Save, Save, Save

7) Don't forget the first tip

Syan Real Estate
Call/Text: (505) 730-8181
Visit: http://www.syan.com
Web Reference:  http://www.syan.com
0 votes
Charles D' A…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Jennie, I always suggest thinking about your home now. What do you like? Then carry that list over to what you want or need in a home. Then Think about growth. Will you have children, pets, family living with you in the future?

Then take that list to a Realtor that has many sales and experience in the home buying process. This person should be able to set expectations based on your list. Pricing and loan qualification will be the final determination of what you can get in home unless you savings or gift monies available to you. If you are a first time home buyer, call Leslie at Academy Mortgage 719-209-2078 for a FREE no obligation credit check and pre-qualification. There are special programs available to assist you.

By the way, A buyers agent is FREE, it's only when you sell will a commission need to be paid to the Realtors. So if you have a home to sell, please contact me and I can help you there as well even if you are out of state, assuming you don't have a Realtor.

Have a great weekend.
0 votes
Chuck Wartman, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Wow, great question.

1) Location: Even a mediocre home in a great location will always retain value.
2) Fits your Family needs: Try to have 1 more bedroom than you currently need. Have a minimum of 2 bathrooms.
3) Don't be the most expensive home in the immediate neighborhood.
4) Go with your very first impression. If there is some feeling that is just 'off' then it will bother you more after you have lived in the home for a few months. You shouldn't have to convince yourself on the home.
Web Reference:  http://www.ChuckWartman.com
0 votes
Sharon Mart…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sat Aug 31, 2013
make a list of what you'd like to have in a home, such as # of bedrooms, baths, garage, sq ft, big lot/small no maintenance lot, etc. Think about the areas you'd like to live in, school district (if that's applicable), convenience to work. Talk to a lender to see what you qualify for...........then start looking!
0 votes
Todd Hanawalt, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Sat Aug 31, 2013
Find a local realtor that will take the time to learn what really works in a home for you.
0 votes
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