Factors When Buying a Home Purchasing Your Home

What to look for in a new home?

When you buy your first home, you need to weigh a number of factors to be sure you are making the best investment possible, while also choosing a home that will bring you pleasure. Here is a short list of the most important things to look at when buying a home.

Location: Your choice of location is important because it impacts both your quality of life and your new home’s resale value. Is the home in a desirable community or neighborhood? Does it sit within attractive surroundings? Is it close to conveniences, but not so close that it is noisy or busy? Is the area safe? Do your research - don’t just rely on other’s opinions. Walk the neighborhood at different times of the day; call the municipality to learn of future development that may affect the prospective home and talk to existing homeowners in the area. You will come away with a strong sense of whether this is the right place for you.

Price: Price will ultimately drive your decision more than any other factor. Your lender will preapprove you for a specific mortgage amount - now you need to determine if that price range offers homes with the amenities that matter to you.

Size: How large of a house and yard do you want? How many bedrooms must it have to match your lifestyle? Do you work from home and require a dedicated home office? Do you have children or plan to in the near future? Do you frequently have houseguests who stay with you? Do you enjoy gardening or working in the yard? Do you entertain frequently? By asking yourself some of these questions, you can quickly determine what you should look for in a house and yard.

Condition: Some homes are wonderfully priced, but require sweat equity. Others are move-in ready and have many upgrades and updates. Either way, by knowing what you want in a home, you can refine your search and save yourself time.

School District: Even if you don’t have children, homes within strong school districts are seen as more desirable and may have better resale value. Notice real estate ads - do they tout the school district in the description of the home? If they do, the school district is a selling point for that home.

Property Taxes: Property taxes are assessed by local and state governments to fund services such as schools, public works, and fire and police services. Your property tax bill is based on the assessed value of the home, which is determined by your municipality. Because lenders require home owners to put aside a portion of the annual tax bill each month as part of the monthly mortgage payment, higher property taxes will mean more must be put aside along with your principal and interest resulting in a larger monthly payment. Property taxes are deductible on your income taxes in most cases, however, so you may see a reduction in tax liability as a result. A tax advisor can advise you on your specific situation.

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