Anyone who has ever bought a home remembers the wonderful feeling of finding the right property and falling in love with it. It’s an indescribable mixture of comfort, excitement and dreams about to come true. “Can we afford it? Will the sellers accept our offer? How soon can we pick up the keys?” the excited buyers ask. Great vibes are undoubtedly a good sign in deciding to purchase a home. But you shouldn’t let your emotions overrule a reasonable assessment of whether a particular home really meets your needs.
Here are a few of the many rational questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you rush into a commitment to buy.
Your lender says you can afford to buy the home you adore, but are you comfortable with the monthly payments you’ll be obligated to make? Is the down payment within your means? Will you have enough cash to pay transaction costs and moving expenses? If the house needs major repairs, remodeling or redecorating can you save the necessary funds within a reasonable time period?
Along with price, the condition of the home should be a top consideration. Does the home need a new roof? Extensive upgrading of the electrical wiring? New plumbing? Is the home disaster-ready (e.g., bolted to the foundation in earthquake country)? A fixer-upper home with lots of potential can be a great find or a money pit. Will you be able to meet the financial challenges and live with the mess and inconvenience while the home is being brought up to your expectations?
Size and configuration
Is the house the right size for your needs and does it have the right combination of bedrooms, bathrooms and other living areas? Is that small closetless den really big enough for your child’s bedroom? Is one bathroom adequate and if not, what are the real costs and headaches of adding a second one? Does the kitchen have enough cupboard and counter top space? Is the garage wide enough and deep enough for your vehicles? Will your piano really fit in that alcove near the staircase?
Does the house have a central heating system? A central air-conditioning system? Are those climate controls important to you? Are the windows large enough and positioned to create cross ventilation? If the house has two stories, are you comfortable with the idea of walking up and down stairs every day? Is there a downstairs bathroom (and bedroom, if needed) for guests who can’t navigate the stairs?
Is the design and architecture of the house too modern or too traditional for your preferences in furniture and home furnishings?
People move to a new home every seven years, on average. If you wanted to sell your home or were forced by unexpected circumstances to sell it, how easy would it be to find a ready, willing and able buyer?
Some buyers fall in love with pricey home amenities that seem attractive and desirable at the time, but later prove to be more headache and less pleasure than the buyers anticipated. Do you really want a swimming pool? High-maintenance ornamental trees? Commercial-grade built-in kitchen appliances? Expensive hardwood floors? Some homes are easier to visit than they are to own.