Before you go out looking at homes, it’s a good idea to write down a list of wants versus needs. These items should be placed in separate columns on a piece of paper. A need is something you can’t live without, such as the number of bedrooms in the home. A want is something that would be nice to have, but isn’t an absolute necessity, such as a great view. This will help you a lot when you actually begin the house hunting process. It will serve as a constant reminder of what’s most important to you — and what you can live without.
One of the biggest mistakes first-time home buyers make when house hunting is to become too emotional about the process. Sure, it’s a very exciting time in your life. Anyone who has ever bought a home before can understand that. But it’s also a financial investment, and like any other investment you need to look at it with an analytical eye. Enjoy the process, but stay calm enough to view each property with an objective eye.
Consider the Neighborhood
So what else should you look for when house hunting for the first time? Well, you want to consider the neighborhood as well as the home. This is another thing first-time buyers often overlook. They fall so in love with a house when they first see it that they forget to consider the neighborhood, the geographical location, the distance from work or school, etc. Remember, when you buy a home, you also buy into the neighborhood and community around it. This is a quality-of-life issue, so it’s an important consideration to keep in mind throughout the process.
House Hunting and Inspections are Different
Now let’s talk about some of the things you should look at when house hunting and touring homes. Keep in mind that you’re going to have a home inspector come out and examine the house from top to bottom, after you make an offer to buy it. (At least, you should hire a home inspector.) So you don’t necessarily need to look at the roof and the foundation and other structural elements. Not yet anyway.
Sure, you want to make sure the home appears to be in good condition overall. But more importantly, you should focus on that list of wants and needs you created at the beginning of the house hunting process. A full inspection can come later.
You also want to make sure the home is laid out in such a way that’s conducive to your lifestyle. Does it have enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Is the master bedroom upstairs or downstairs? Does it have a fenced-in lot, if that’s important to you? Is it located near work or school? What is the neighborhood like? Do people in the area seem to take pride in their homes, or is it a neighborhood in decline?
These are some of the most important things you should look for when shopping for house.