Your dream home is not just a location you have to fill out on forms or a place to sleep at night. It is a place of comfort and expression, a haven of rest. These qualities transform it from a mere house to a home.
For some people, it takes a long time to find that desirable abode; but for others, they could find it with a single inspection. So, it is not the time put into the search that matters, or the persuasive words doled out by the realtor, but the way the house meets your expectations. That determines if it is suitable for you or not. Here are some notable areas for your checklist:
How well does the house meet your needs? Do you like to paint or take pictures and need a studio area? Do you bake and need a large kitchen? Are you very tall and need a high ceiling? Do you fancy fitness and need a gym room or a neighbourhood where you can have an early morning run? Do you like to invite friends over for anniversaries and need space? Would you want to teach your kids to play baseball without having to go out?
These are things you enjoy and it would be great to do them in the place you call home. Also, if you have five children, a two-bedroom apartment may be difficult to live in, and if you have just one child and do not intend to have any more, a four-bedroom apartment may be too big.
Someone who loves community needs to be in a community and not in a pretty house alone in the woods or far away from town and from everyone. Those who love solitude and work from home may need to be far from noise. In the same vein, if there is an emergency, how quickly can help reach you or how quickly can you get help? If you have children, will school run be a hassle? Can they walk to school? Would you have neighbours or family around that can help you pick your kids from school when you are running late? How fast can you get to a mall when you just remembered you forgot to pick one last ingredient for dinner? These are questions you should answer in this area of proximity.
This is tricky because it is not just about the funds you have saved up or the loan available to you. New houses are more expensive, but they have new and trendy fittings. Old houses are cheaper but they may require a lot of renovation. On a general note, bigger homes require more maintenance and electricity than smaller homes. So, weigh your options properly.
You may feel fortunate to see that a huge loan value is available to you, but you also need to calculate the monthly deductions and see how they will affect your finances in the long run, before you make a decision.
How strong is the house? You need to know what it can withstand and if they made the structure to the right standards. The quality of the fittings also needs to be checked. Please ensure there are no leakages anywhere. It may seem like a daunting task, but you will be glad you made the effort.
Apart from houses collapsing or insect infestation and others, there are health risks caused by poor building quality. Some people are allergic to mould from wet walls and certain insects. You can seek the services of a professional to assess the house, but if you have a friend who knows anything about construction, that person should be your house-hunt buddy.
You need an environment with low or no crime rate and with a police station or fire service within reach, for your safety. Consider coming home late or children walking home alone from school or from their friends’ houses. Will you feel safe or will you have to stay indoors all the time?
Now, after you have used this check-list, you still need to manage your expectations. You may not get all the boxes you want to be checked; but while you consider areas of compromise, think long-term, and remember that a home is not just a house, but a haven of rest. Depending solely on the realtor to get information is not ideal. You need to speak with locals, check maps, browse for information online and look around.