Mary O'Brien's Blog
There are a lot of ways a real estate agent can help you find the best home for your needs. However, the final decision always rests squarely on your shoulders.
The challenge for many home buyers -- especially first-timers -- is to keep everything in perspective and avoid sacrificing features that are especially important to you.
Developing a carefully thought-out priority list, consisting of both necessities and "wish list" items, is an essential starting point for getting what you want in a new home. Even though house hunting can potentially wear you down, it's important to hang in there and stay true to your priorities.
While everyone has different expectations, lifestyle needs, and personal requirements, some things are bound to create issues down the road.
- Being too close to neighbors: Depending on your need for privacy, this may or may not be a problem for you. However, if you don't want your life to feel like a reality show (with your neighbors being the audience), then it would probably pay to maintain a comfortable distance between houses. Unfortunately, that's not always possible. For example, if you're in the market for a home in an urban environment or a townhouse setting, then close proximity "comes with the territory". If living in suburbia is your objective, though, it's often feasible and desirable to keep some breathing room between neighbors.
- Basement laundry: Having to go up and down an extra flight of stairs every time you do your laundry is not the worst thing in the world, but it can make laundry day more of a hassle. The inconvenience of a basement laundry is multiplied if you have to do several loads of laundry every week. To make that chore even more unpleasant, unfinished basements are often dank, musty smelling, and not much to look at! Regardless of the condition of the basement, though, having a first-floor laundry does make life a lot easier!
- A tiny yard: A spacious yard is not a feature all house hunters require, but if you have dogs, kids, and the occasional backyard barbecue, then you'd probably find a good-sized yard to be more satisfying. On the other hand, if your short-term plan includes moving in a few years, then yard size might not be a major issue.
- Being too far from conveniences: Do you have your heart set on a rural setting for your next home? If so, you may have to sacrifice being close to shopping, entertainment, friends, and work. It is a potential trade-off that you and your family will need to consider carefully. Reaching a consensus on what you must have versus what you'd like to have in a home will hopefully help ensure a decision you'll all be satisfied with.