After years of saving, you’ve finally been pre-approved process to buy a home. The first step is complete!
But now what?
Figuring out what you want in a home can be overwhelming, and where do you start? Price and style (single family home, condominium, etc.) is typically first and foremost when determining which home will be best for you. Certainly that serves as the base for how to proceed but there are many other factors to consider before you start your search. And those variables can inevitably make the process even more confusing.
It’s prudent to narrow the parameters when preparing to make what will mostly likely be the biggest purchase of your life. Simplifying the search criteria will make the home buying process easier and more enjoyable. Remember, the journey should be just as satisfying as the actually purchase.
Jenny Usaj, managing broker of Usaj Realty, has helped hundreds of people determine the most important components of the home buying experience. Below she outlines her vision for helping to guide clients through the residential real estate process.
Question: What are the five components of value when shopping for a home?
It is often talked about in real estate but location is the #1 most important item. Your home is your sanctuary and it needs to be in a convenient place to all your typical stops: work, school, hobbies and friends! Determining in which part of town you want to spend your time is critical. Is public transportation important? Then make sure your home is close to a light rail station or bus line. How highly rated is the local school for your children? Are outdoor recreation areas a key part of your life? Do you have friends who live in the area? These are all important questions to ask yourself before starting the search.
There are lots of things about a house that you can change but the natural light and direction your home faces is hard to adjust without a big budget. Make sure you are thinking about these scenarios: Are you are a morning or evening “person?” Do you like sunsets in your backyard? Do you want the snow to melt in your driveway instead of shoveling it? Think about how the light changes with the seasons and the impact it will have in your potential choice. When the trees shed their leaves, what will the impact be? Will the neighbors now be “too close for comfort?”
Walkability and Lifestyle:
Denver is great about maintaining its city parks, “pocket” parks and helping create local commercial spaces for neighborhoods. When exploring neighborhoods, look for the closest coffee shop, grocery store and restaurants (you will most likely find a brewery too!). Property values are correlated with walkability in many Denver neighborhoods within the city. The whole point about living in the city is being close (i.e. not having to drive) to the amenities, attractions and essentials you need in your life. Hopefully, there is at least one “to go spot” within a mile of your house to which you can walk or bike.
The layout of the home is another tough one to change without a major remodel budget. Think about your lifestyle and how you interact with a home. Do you need a dark bedroom, big kitchen, main floor master bedroom or no stairs? Think about where you live most in your life while at home and where you will be the most of the time. You may be looking for a different layout than you thought! A home office is great but not so much if you don’t work from home. A patio or deck is awesome but only if you spend a lot of time outside or like to entertain. Are you going to expand your family? Think about the future and how many bedrooms you need. If necessary, is the house conducive to a remodel?
While not the sexiest of any real estate considerations, how your home was built is literally the foundation of your investment. Make sure that you are speaking with your realtor about having an inspection and a structural engineer examine the integrity of the house to make sure it will be around for another 100 years. Lining up a home inspector to “turn over the rocks” is critical in giving you a better idea of what secrets the house has. Most of the time, the necessary repairs are easily rectified but it’s imperative have all the facts and figures before you sign the dotted line.