One of the first steps in your home search is to decide what features and amenities to look for. Make sure you know your “must haves”—the criteria you won't compromise on. But don't be surprised if you find yourself bending these “rules” to find the home that's your best fit!
Finding a great home isn’t just about the physical features, you’ll want to check out other factors as well:
Visit at different times during the day and night. A house or neighborhood that seems perfect during the day may be a completely different story after dark. By visiting at different hours, you’ll be able to judge things like street traffic and noise levels.
Street parking. When your guests come over, where will they park? Some homes have spacious driveways and carports, while others have ample room for street parking. Either way, make sure you keep a note of how much space you have for your visitors and your cars.
Ask for utility bills. If the former owners are willing, ask for a peek at their utility bills. How much does it cost to keep cool in the summer, or warm in the winter? Does low water pressure require running the water for longer to get yourself clean in the shower? What does it take to maintain that gorgeous lawn they’ve grown?
Look out, not just in. Once you’re inside a potential dream home, you’re bound to get distracted looking at all the wonderful rooms. Remember to look out of the windows every so often as well. How does the view look? Are there obstructions? These are all important things to note.
Be aware of the location and everything surrounding it. When it comes to finding a prime piece of real estate, there are three words you should always keep in mind: Location, location, location. You can always renovate a house, but your property’s location will never change. We put together a special page dedicated solely to helping you find the perfect location for your home.
For your home’s physical attributes, the following chart can help you decide what you—and your family members—are looking for in a home. First, have everyone in your family list their preferences (number of bedrooms, deck, etc.) Then compare notes and discuss which items are “must haves” and which are negotiable. As you visit open houses, you can check off which criteria each home meets.