1.       Can You Afford it?

Consumers and the housing market are still shuddering from the financial crisis that sent them reeling back in 2007. Recent gains are a good sign that buying a home is still a wise investment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution. Before you start looking for homes, have an honest conversation about your finances with your partner. Set up appointments with financial advisors, and get solid opinions from more than one source. If buying a home isn’t feasible, don’t force it and look for an alternative.

2.       Location, Location

There are so many decisions that come into play when deciding where to live. Location is a top priority for many. It determines what schools your kids will attend, how far you will have to travel to work, and your cost of living. With unpredictable fluctuations in gas prices, which can affect how much a loaf of bread will cost, location could mean a few more dollars in your pocket at the end of the month.

This can also mean you will need to make some sacrifices. A better location could mean a higher up-front cost. Think about your family’s priorities, and choose a solution that will meet the majority of those areas. Instead of a big backyard, the neighborhood park might be a great alternative if everything else about a house fits your needs.

3.       Fix it or Ditch It

Home buying may be a tedious process, but you can come away with a deal. How? “Fixer-uppers.” Pre-owned homes can be bargains because you don’t have initial new building costs, but they can also come with drawbacks. If the previous homeowner didn’t invest in updating the home before putting it on the market, you will have additional expenses to make it meet your standards. New carpet, kitchen remodeling, new appliances, and lighting fixtures can all add up. But if your budget is flexible and you plan well, you can make it work.

If the home is too outdated for your tastes, don’t be afraid to walk away from it. It’s better to invest in something you know you can handle financially than to end up with expensive projects and a home you can’t stand.

4.       The Extras

A house is not a home until you make it one. Everyone has a unique way of doing this – adding the pool you always wanted, a sunroom for year-round entertaining, or even an expansive garden. It all comes at a price, of course, and that needs to be a part of your decision-making process. Many homes are governed by homeowner’s associations, and they put limits and associated fees on the additions or changes you can make. Even city governments have a say with special permits. Get the answers upfront before you purchase a home. That way you won’t be disappointed, or worse, left with reversing a project for which you didn’t get the right approval.

5.       The Future

We can all agree the future is difficult to predict outright, but there are some things you know for sure. If you’re still growing your family, think about how much space you’ll need. You might want to overestimate – we all know “surprises” happen! More people are staying in their homes for longer periods of time, so plan to live comfortably.

Think about the development of the area as well. Cities are always changing. If your home is in a relatively new area, be prepared for it to grow – attracting new businesses and more traffic. The same can be said for older areas as they go through a restoration phase.

Your home should be a place where you go to get away from the stresses of everything else. If it’s not something you are completely satisfied with, contact Statewide Remodeling to find out how we can change that for you.