Who's your neighbor?

When you're planning on buying a house in the near future, you're subject to lots of advice. Buyers should consider the quality of the schools, their commute to work, the neighbors, and any noise when thinking about purchasing a house. I always stress to my clients: Pay attention to the things that you can’t change about a house and to make sure you can live with those items. Kitchen and bathrooms can be remodeled, but you can't make the noise from a busy freeway go away.

Location, location, location:

The first, and most important, rule of real estate has not changed: location, location, location. If the home is not in the right community, near a busy highway or in the wrong school district, you can rule it out before visiting. If your neighbor doesn’t take care of the yard and has all kinds of clutter and junk, they may make a lot of noise and have a lot of things going on. Write a list of what you want and need in a home, then lists to see what's important when touring prospective homes, mark which items do and don't meet your criteria.

Consider age and condition:

Look at the age and condition of the home, especially for those big-ticket items. How does the roof look? What about the HVAC? Are there signs of water or structural damage? No matter if you want a turn-key home or a fixer-upper, these are things that should be in good condition before you buy. A home inspection is one protection against expensive surprises, but you’ll also want to scrutinize seller disclosures, ask questions about the age of roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, furnaces and air conditioners. Also inquire about termite treatments and water damage. If not, you could end up spending much more than you intend on fixes and replacements. Make sure it meets your current (and future) needs. No matter what's on your list of must-have's, don't settle for a home unless you're sure it will meet your needs.

Stick to your budget:

Don’t overbuy for your budget. Make sure you know how much you're comfortable paying in a mortgage amount and stick to that limit, even if you've been approved for more. You don't want to be in a position where you feel 'house poor', or worse, are unable to make your payments.

Don't forget resale value:

Though it may be a not-so-sexy feature of your home, resale value one of the most important. It can be a huge determining factor the quality of your investment and how long it will take you to sell once you decide to move. Look for features in your home that most buyers would consider desirable like bedroom size, kitchen size, outdoor space, or parking.


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