What to Look for When Buying a House

When considering what to look for when buying a house, many people focus on the price, but plenty of other factors should go into the decision. Location, the size of the house and the quality of construction are all elements that you need to think about before you make the biggest purchase of your life.

Location
The best house in the worst neighborhood is not where you want to be. You can fix tiny problems in the house and even remodel it entirely, but the location is something that you can't change. Drive by your potential home during different times of the day so you can get a sense of the neighborhood. Take note of the noise level, as well as the amount of traffic that goes down the street. Look at the other houses in the neighborhood. Are they well-maintained? Does the neighborhood look safe enough to walk around in? These are all important factors in your ability to enjoy living there.

Size
Most people go with the size of house that they need right now, instead of thinking about their future needs. Four bedrooms may be too much for you at the current moment, but ask yourself the following questions: Are you going to expand your family? Do you need room for a home office or craft space? Think about how much space you'll need, and then look for a house that will fit your future.

Quality of Construction
A house inspector will be able to reveal how well your house is built, but you can see a lot with your own eyes on a tour of the home. Take a notepad and pen with you on your house tours. Make a note of anything that looks suspicious to you or that you'll need to replace when you move in. Write down older items like lighting fixtures that you'll want to update. Little things like this can really add up when you move in. A professional house inspector can tell you more about what needs to be repaired immediately or sometime in the future.

Also consider the yard size and maintenance, the closet space and the layout of the kitchen. As you look at different homes, balance the cost and energy of getting the house just the way you want it to the location and price. Finding a house that needs a little work for the right price in the right location is better than living in a neighborhood you don't like.

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