Setting Your Priorities: What to Look For When Buying a House

Buying a home can be endlessly exciting, no matter whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned veteran ready for a change. Attending open houses and trawling the internet often only helps to fuel your enthusiasm. The downside of this is that homes styled for sale, or properties outside of your budget, can act as inspiration for your dream home, leading to unrealistic expectations as to what you can afford. Conceiving a warped image of what your goal property looks like can lead to the skewing of your priorities, leaving you with a conflicting idea of what your essential needs are. To avoid such pitfalls, below are some practical tips to help get you on track to buying your new home.

Begin with essential priorities

When looking for your new home – be realistic with yourself. Do you really need the house that comes with the tennis court? The answer is, generally, no. Whilst a tennis court makes for a pretty awesome feature, for most people, it isn’t a necessity. The essential elements of a home are things like working appliances, adequate security, or parking/public transport accessibility. You will also need to re-assess what features are vital for your individual needs. Buying a home that needs a substantial amount of work may save you money in the short-term, but if you’re time poor or can’t afford to renovate it, you’ve done yourself no favours.

Is it a cosmetic or permanent feature?

Building on the idea of non-negotiable priorities, you will need to decide which features are deal breakers. Certain elements of a home may seem undesirable, but when contrasting the downsides of a home, the wall colour, for example, does not hold equal value with the location. That is to say, the walls may be painted an ugly colour – but that is something that can be quite easily changed. The location of the home, on the other hand, is permanent and cannot be changed on a trip to the hardware store. It’s important that you make this distinction when weighing up the pros and cons of each potential property. Don’t let the yellow feature wall distract you from a home’s excellent foundational structure or its prime location.

Location is key

It’s already been mentioned, but the location really is key. It should always be one of the first things, alongside price, that you consider when looking at a property. A home may tick every one of your boxes, but if it makes for an incredibly inconvenient commute, or isn’t close to decent schools, you should reconsider. What may seem like outstanding features at first, become less exciting the longer you live at a property, and make little difference if your home is far away from the important people and places in your life. Also consider longevity – if you’re looking to start a family in this property, or to make it your long-term residence, don’t choose a wildly difficult or remote location.

The price has to be right

And lastly and perhaps most importantly: the price. Similar to figuring out essential priorities, figuring out your price range requires practicality and a sense of realism. You won’t be helping yourself in the long or short term by purchasing a property that you can’t afford. For this reason, there are services available in helping you determine just how much you can borrow. Applying for a mortgage with expensive interest rates, especially when it’s out of your budget, is also incredibly unwise. Living within your means and your reality is a big part of being a functioning adult, and not enough people take it seriously. It never hurts to be smart about your finances and to honestly evaluate your budget. Living in a house that you can’t afford may seem impressive at first, but it’s a guarantee that you won’t feel that way when the monthly bills start coming in.