Listen to the 5 Things Homebuyers Should Consider article
In the market for a new home?
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking for another home that better suits your life, the homebuying process can be intimidating—and expensive. In some areas of the United States, homes are selling for more than $1 million over the asking price.
Other than finding a home that fits your budget, what are some things you should consider before placing a down payment?
1. Using a Realtor
It can be tempting to try keeping costs to a minimum during the homebuying process, and you may think about handling the process without a realtor. But remember, the seller covers the cost of the realtor’s fee. While that may drive up the overall price of the home, this cost will likely be included whether or not you use a realtor.
Especially in competitive housing markets, it can be a real advantage to get the help of a trusted realtor. They can handle price negotiations and use their expertise in analyzing the results of any inspection checks.
When searching for the right realtor, ask family and friends for recommendations. You should also be prepared to interview two or three prospective realtors to make sure you have someone who understands your goals and knows the area in and out.
The exact location of your home can have a huge effect on your life. It affects things like your children’s school district, your commute times, the places you eat and shop, and your proximity to family and friends.
For your children’s education, use a service like greatschools.org to see academic ratings, equity standards, and demographics.
For commuting, seeing family, and getting to and from an airport, use Google Maps to see estimated travel times during busy sections of the day. If your commuting and travel will carry significant costs each year, you may want to add that into the overall price of one home versus another.
3. HVAC Systems
The heating, cooling, and fresh air systems in a home can greatly impact the level of comfort in that environment. Since you and your family will be spending years and possibly decades in your home, you want to make sure the HVAC is optimized.
One easy area to look out for during the inspection is clogged air filters. It’s possible for homeowners who have lived in a place for a long time to forget that they need to regularly change them. But when the air filters get dirty, it’s only a matter of time until the HVAC system breaks down or needs to be replaced.
Repairs can cost hundreds of dollars, while a replacement can be several thousand dollars. Before you agree to buy a home, have a trained inspector take a look at the ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and filtration systems to make sure they’re in good working order.
Once you’re in charge of the HVAC systems in your home, consult an Aprilaire Pro to optimize your home environment. And when it comes to replacing filters, it’s recommended to change standard 1-inch filters every 1-3 months and Aprilaire high-efficiency air filters every 6-12 months for peak performance.
4. Age and Style
In most areas, building a new home is difficult due to construction costs and the low availability of open land.
Older homes are a great option for most people, and can offer charm and character that new constructions can’t match. But as the decades add up, repairs and upgrades are increasingly necessary.
Plus, if your home is close to 100 years old or more, it was likely built in a time when building codes were drastically different and layouts were smaller. If it hasn’t been significantly upgraded in the intervening years, you could be on the hook for more costly upgrades.
So, make sure to factor in the cost of any needed renovations to things like electricity, plumbing, and the layout of the home when you’re looking to buy.
5. Number of Bathrooms
Depending on the size of the home and the size of your family, you may want multiple bathrooms and multiple showers or tubs.
Some older homes may have just one bathroom, no matter the size of the house. Or you may be stuck with one shower, which isn’t feasible for most families with multiple children.
If a home is perfect other than the number of bathrooms, ask your realtor what they think of adding more. And get the opinion of a plumber or general contractor on the cost of renovating current bathrooms or adding completely new ones.