1. Lifestyle & Function
What do you enjoy doing? Do you love to entertain? A large kitchen would probably serve you well. Do you like to mountain bike or take walks with your family? Maybe quick access to trails or parks would be convenient for you. As far as function, do you have small kids that you need to see from the kitchen while you cook? If so, you probably want an open concept. Do you need or want a formal dining room? If not, could you utilize it as an office, a playroom, or a sitting area? It’s important to consider how you can use each space in your new home before making an offer.
2. Changing Family Situations
Do you plan to grow your family? Or do you have a child going off to college? Maybe you need a couple of extra bedrooms for the future, or maybe not so many. Do you plan to age in place? Maybe stairs or a large lot to maintain aren’t for you.
For families with school-aged children, I recommend picking the school out even before choosing the house. Schools are very important and you need to research which ones will provide the academic learning you value and the sports or extra-curricular activities that your child may like.
You can’t put a price on financial peace. You don’t want to be house poor and sacrifice your lifestyle just to pay you mortgage. If the bank approves you for a $300,000 loan, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should go right up to that limit. Consider what your payments will be, including taxes and insurance and if there’s anything you’d like to upgrade or remodel once you move in.
5. Location, location, location
Location is very important for many reasons, one of the most important being for resale. In addition, it’s essential to consider for other practical reasons as well. Do you make frequent trips to a certain part of town on most days? Do you need to get to the highway during peak traffic times every week? Are you a homebody and enjoy the spaciousness and privacy of rural living? Consider what part of town you want to be in and zero in on it.