Buying a home is a big deal. It’s a huge financial investment and therefore one that should be made with careful consideration.
But let’s face it: if you’re sticking to a specific budget, the odds of checking off absolutely every little item on your list are pretty high, especially if those things are more on the “want” side versus the “need” side. Buying the perfect home is not easy, and you’ll probably find yourself making certain compromises while honing in on a short list of properties.
That said, there are certain things that you should never compromise on when buying a home, including the following.
You can change many things about a house, but you can’t change its location. In fact, when it comes to buying a home, location is the number one factor to consider. Not only does it impact your enjoyment of your home, it also plays a significant role in the future value of your investment.
For starters, consider how close the location of a home is in relation to work. The ease and convenience of your morning and evening commute will rely heavily on where your home is relative to where your place of work is located.
Ease of commute is a critical component to think about when buying a home. While some people don’t mind a long ride into work, others might wince at the thought. Regardless of the distance from home to work, other factors come into play when it comes to commuting to and from work, including proximity to freeways and public transit.
Of course, there are plenty of other factors that go into location. An area’s school district, crime rate, and greenspace will also impact the desirability of a specific neighborhood. Close proximity to important amenities is also a factor to consider, such as groceries, eateries, and shops.
It’s important to have a clear idea about all of the above factors before beginning the search for a home. And if you’re not keen on a far commute to work or want to be in an area with good schools and a low crime rate, then location is definitely something that should not be compromised.
2. Structural Integrity
Unless you’re buying with the intention of completely tearing down a home and building a new one, then the strength of a home’s structure should be carefully considered. If it’s in rough shape, you could very well find yourself with a money pit.
The costs associated with repairing structural issues can be astronomical. That’s why it’s important for buyers to focus on homes with solid construction quality in order to avoid getting stuck with a property that will require a ton of work – and money – to bring up to par.
3. Number of Bedrooms
The size of your family will dictate the number of bedrooms you’ll need in the new home you purchase. Ideally, everyone will be able to have their own bedroom to call their own, though it’s not uncommon for siblings to share rooms with each other, at least for a few years.
That said, if there is a specific number of bedrooms that your family absolutely requires, this is one trait that you probably should not sacrifice when shopping for a new home. Even one less bedroom can make life uncomfortable and inconvenient.
If there are no kids in the picture right now but you plan on adding them some time soon, you’ll need to take this fact into account when searching for a new home. Being prepared with more space when you really need it can avoid having to search for another home too soon.
Nobody wants to be cramped in their own home, so if a certain amount of space is needed to ensure that you and your family are comfortable, then don’t compromise on square footage. This is especially true if you’ve got little kids running around or pets that need some freedom to roam.
While a couple hundred square feet might not necessarily make a huge difference, cutting back on any more than that can compromise the enjoyment of your home. Determine the optimal size of a home you plan to purchase and try not to stray too far from that ideal.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an absolute must before house hunting, and will provide you with a limit of how much you could potentially be approved for to finance a new home purchase. But that doesn’t mean you should buy a home that maxes out that limit. While you might be able to get approved for a certain home loan amount, that could also mean that a much larger portion of your income will have to go towards paying your mortgage.
Being “house poor” is no fun. Not only does it restrict your leisurely spending, it can also impede on your ability to contribute to your savings or retirement accounts. In addition, it’ll take you a lot longer to pay off your mortgage if your loan amount is sky high.
Obviously, buying a home is a major financial investment that requires discipline to pay off on a regular basis, but you should never compromise the ability to funnel your funds to other important things in the name of buying a much more expensive home.
6. Working With an Agent
There’s absolutely no reason for buyers to go it alone when it comes to finding and purchasing a home. After all, sellers generally cover the costs associated with paying for realtor commissions. The services and expertise that agents can offer their clients are invaluable.
These professionals can help zero in on homes that match buyers’ criteria, negotiate a fair price, and tackle the complex paperwork that often accompanies a real estate deal. For this reason, buyers should never compromise the assistance of a seasoned real estate professional in the most important financial investment decisions they’ll ever make.
The Bottom Line
Before you find the perfect home that fits your budget and your lifestyle, you’ll likely have to check out several properties first. The odds of finding your dream home on the first visit are pretty low, especially if you’re sticking to a specific budget. However, the more homes you see, the better idea you’ll have of exactly what you can get for the money you’re able and willing to spend.
Of course, you’ll have your own specific preferences and requirements. That’s why it’s helpful to start your home search armed with a list of components that you’re willing to sacrifice and list of items that are absolute must-haves, and be sure to put in an offer only on a property that checks off all items on the latter.