Location, curb appeal, square footage and number of rooms might get you in the front door of an available home, but what should be deal-breakers or deal-makers once your real estate agent is taking you “on the tour”?
These days, many sellers realize the advantage of “staging” their home so it will look appealing to almost any buyer. But be careful! That great furniture, those artfully placed knickknacks and the eye-catching bedding don’t come with the house, and you might not be able to duplicate “the look” with what comes out of your moving van. The same thing is true if you don’t like the flooring or the décor. Make the time to take a deeper look and think about how much redecorating or remodeling you can afford.
If the home has an open-concept floor plan, can you see the kitchen area from the front door? Because it is one of the most lived-in areas of your home, you might not want to feel the kitchen always has to be shipshape anytime the doorbell rings. Is it on your wish list to have a separate eating area or can you comfortably sit down to dinner in the same space where you just created a home-cooked meal?
The number of bedrooms can be important, especially if you have several children or will have frequent out-of-town guests. Be sure to consider the placement of the bedrooms and the bathrooms, especially if you want younger children to be close to the master bedroom, or older children to be where you can’t hear their late-night music. If you plan to be in your home as your children grow from toddlers to teens, consider the flexibility of the spaces over time.
Does the laundry room’s size and location meet your family’s needs? Will the location of that and other plumbing in the house make it easy to combine rooms in a future remodel?
Many older homes have a lot of small rooms, while today’s trend is toward more open living, entertaining and sleeping areas. Are the bedrooms large enough for the beds and other furniture they will need to hold and is there enough closet space? A small bathroom with a combined shower and tub might be adequate for a family with a toddler, but when the toddler becomes a teen, you might wish you had a separate bathroom for you and the kids. If you want to stay in this location during your family’s growing years, think about where you could add another bathroom.
Your Wish List vs. What You Can Afford
See our article, “Your Dream Home Wish List: Consider What You Can and Can’t Do Without” for more ideas on what in the home you’re looking at would be a Deal Breaker, a Heart Breaker, a Really Want It, a Could Go Either Way or a First to Cut. After you’ve found the style of house you want with the number of rooms you need, be sure to consider whether you will want to and be able to afford upgrades to:
- flooring: wood, carpet, tile
- Kitchen cabinets & countertops
- Fireplace: gas or wood-burning
- Heating & cooling systems
The Value of a Home Inspection
Home inspections are not legally required in the sale of a home. They do come with a price, so is a home inspection necessary and worth the cost? What are the pros and cons? Check out our article on Home Inspections. You probably know enough to look for such things as the age and condition of the windows, the roof, and the HVAC system, but what surprises could be uncovered once you’re actually living in a house?
Inspectors will be looking for a few things such as: determining the functionality and efficiency of plumbing, electrical units, heating and cooling systems, appliances, structural stability, roofing, foundation, etc. Essentially, they serve to make sure that the basic foundation and construction of a home are appropriate, and everything is up to code.
Many people see the home inspection process as another component of a greater investment. Home inspections make it possible to potentially negotiate repairs and fixes with the home seller. Often times, home sellers can be convinced to fix certain issues in order to ensure the sale goes through. The biggest incentive for getting a home inspection is to guarantee that a property does not have any current, major problems. If you choose not to get an inspection, and are faced with a major issue after the sale, you will be responsible for the fix.
Talk to a Citywide Loan Officer about prequalifying for a loan on a home that fits your budget and includes most of the highest ranking wishes on your list. Then let us help you find a realtor who specializes in homes like the one you’re looking for. With these two experts and maybe a home inspector on your team, you’ll be set to find the home of your dreams for now and in the long-run.