There are many decisions you'll need to make before striking out on your house hunt. Things like what area of town you want to live in can really be impacted by such not-so-minor details such as property tax rates or the quality of the school district.
What kind of city amenities are being offered?
Parks, pools, golf courses or other recreational facilities can impact not only your personal quality of life, but the eventual re-sale value of your investment. Here are some questions you'll need to ask yourself when deciding on where to buy your next (first?) home:
- Do I want an older/more established neighborhood...with trees and mature landscaping?
- Do I want a newer area of town that is convenient to schools, churches, malls and shopping centers?
- Does the area I'm considering have increasing (yes!) or decreasing (no!) property values?
- Do I want to live in the city, experience suburbia or the challenge of a rural lifestyle?
- Do I want to live close to my job or am I willing to sacrifice the drive to live in the country?
Based on your answers to the questions above, make a list of questions prior to settling on a final location of your next home.
New or Pre-Owned? Sooner or later, you'll need to decide whether you want to own a new or a pre-owned home. There are advantages and disadvantages for both; check out the list below...
New vs. Pre-Owned Homes
Whether you're thinking seriously about buying a new home versus a pre-owned home, each one has it's own unique set of advantages (and disadvantages!). Let's run them down and let you make the final decision...
- Mature landscaping
- Established neighborhoods
Homeowner added amenities.....
- Sprinkler systems
- Pool & hot tub
- Draperies & window treatment
- Shutters and blinds
- Special paint and wall finishes
May need updating.....
- Kitchen & baths outdated
- Smaller rooms/smaller bathrooms/lousy closet space
- Lower ceilings
- Maintenance issues need to be addressed: Potential necessity of a new roof, new air conditioning system, new plumbing
- Fresh "pallet" to work/create from
- Never lived in
- May be able to choose finish-out items such as carpeting, painting, wall papers, etc.
- No immediate maintenance needed
- More upside to increase value in early years
You may need to budget the purchase of a slew of amenities out of pocket:
- Pool or Hot tub
- Draperies, shutters and blinds
- Wallpaper, special wall painting treatments, etc.
- Builder grade finish out materials used (you may want to upgrade)
- Floor coverings
- Plain one color walls
- Lighting fixtures and ceiling fans
- Neighborhood not well established
- Lots of construction still in progress (which means the potential of noise and mess)
- May be several years until neighborhood sold out and complete
Building vs. Buying A New Home
While searching for the perfect home, you may end up deciding on a brand new house in which to create your home. A house free from the usual pitfalls of a "pre-owned" model: No chance for the previous occupants to mess up the carpets, scratch up the walls, neglect the maintenance or forget to mow the yard or trim the hedges. It's your opportunity to start from scratch and have a "fresh pallet" to work from and create your own home.
You may have spent your weekends over the last six months visiting beautifully decorated model homes in an area that you're hot for...and may have even found the perfect new home. The question you've got to ask yourself? "Will this home fit our lifestyle and will it be "the perfect home" six months from now? What about sixty months from now?"
Spend time reviewing the floor plan of your potential new home to (try to) make sure your "perfect home" is truly perfect. Here's yet another Advantages-vs.-Disadvantages list to mull over in your decision making process.
Building A New Home:
| ||You choose the plan||Building takes 4 to 8 months|
| ||You choose the finishes||Construction Delays|
| ||You choose the exteriors||Cost over runs|
| ||Have it done your way||Rising costs as you build|
|Summary:||Your dream home (hopefully!)||Can be a very frustrating experience|
Buying An Existing Home:
| ||Move in quickly ||You get what you see|
| ||Builder may be more negotiable||Changes generally not allowed|
| ||The price is set ||"Blah" finishes chosen by builder|
|Summary:||Less Stress & Frustration||You may not get what you want|