Buying a home takes a lot of time, research and emotion. And for first time home buyers, it should: This is an important step for you and your family and when it comes time to buy, you want to make sure that the home suites your budget, requirements and lifestyle.
There is a lot of information out there for first time home buyers and getting started can seem daunting. Yet understanding your exact requirements can go a long way in pruning down your options so that all the erroneous options and ‘noise’ goes away and you can focus on what is most important to you.
These 7 quick considerations act as a great starting point in deciding on what your needs are in a new home. By prioritizing these aspects of your home search you can start to narrow down where and what you’ll be looking for in your new home.
Style of Home
If you like the charm of older homes or the convenience and ‘hands off’ lifestyle of newer construction and/or communities, it’s important to understand what’s involved with each. Expect regular maintenance with older homes. If you don’t know what a Philips head screwdriver is and don’t want to spend time cutting grass, then an older home may not be best for you. Instead, you might want to consider newer construction or a development that has a home owners association (HOA.) These communities provide services such as lawn care and snow removal for a monthly fee. That means less money in your pocket but greater convenience if you are not handy, in your golden years or want to invest your time on other things than home maintenance.
Closely aligned with home style is your requirement for land and/or privacy. If you require a lot of land, a quieter setting with less road noise and nosey neighbors, you may want to look in more rural areas with no structured community. If you are more of a city slicker, living in a town center is great for those who want to walk to local amenities, work, school, etc. Of course, there are happy mediums with townhomes and development communities where you can live in suburban bliss.
Point #2 touches on lifestyle quite a bit: What is most important to you?
If you love the outdoors, want plenty of outdoor space and need storage for your car hobby, you will likely want to look at more suburban or rural homes with plenty of land, garage space and privacy. If nightlife, entertainment and community involvement is more your style, then city/suburban life would be better suited for you.
Similarly, how you live your life in your home is equally as important. Do you love to entertain? Do you have a lot of stuff and need closets and storage for all your stuff? Or, are you a minimalist where a small condo or cottage will do the trick?
Taxes are a reality for all property owners and in all likelihood, they will never go down. In other words, the tax rate you see on a property at the time of purchase will only go up as you continue to live in your home. It is important to understand the taxes in the areas you are looking to buy in and see if you can afford the yearly tax payments. It is also important to understand what those taxes get you. Does your town have dedicated services like police, fire and rescue? Are there community centers, libraries and other resources that your taxes support? Schools are a big influencer and our next consideration.
Schools are a crucially important consideration for people of all ages. If you are starting a family, good schools are likely at the top of your list. Keep in mind that certain areas have tax rates that are heavily influenced by the school systems. It would be wise to research the schools, read some of the recent news and goings on in area school districts and see what each one has to offer.
If you don’t have children or are empty nesters, you can consider living in an area where school taxes aren’t such as large influence on your tax bill.
For all the considerations previously mentioned, your budget will tell you what you can get for your must haves and which ones you many need to compromise on. It’s important not to stretch your budget too much and to make common sense decisions for you and your family. For some, it’s schools. For others, it’s a matter of lifestyle. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the biggest consideration:
You thought we’d forget the old cliché? Not a chance, because it’s true.
There is no bigger consideration than the location of your future home as it influences each and every one of the prior 6 mentioned here. Your location determines virtually everything, from the taxes you pay, the schools that are available to you and the lifestyle you plan on maintaining while living in your new home.
Location influences your budget the most. What you can get for your dollar varies wildly from town to town, and from state to state. Typically, the closer you live to a city or major metropolitan area, the more expensive the cost of living. Location is typically always influenced by other factors, such as work commutes, schools and access to public transportation.
An experienced real estate agent well versed in the area you are intending to purchase a home is an invaluable resource, particularly for first time home buyers. Class Harlan Real Estate has agents with decades of experience in the Bucks county area and can pinpoint the perfect place for you and your family based on your considerations. Whether you are a seasoned buyer or someone new to the home buying experience, we can review your requirements, pinpoint the properties on the market that best fit your needs and help you make an educated decision in buying a home that you will live in and enjoy for many years. We are excited that you are considering Bucks County as your future home, and hope to hear from you soon.