What to Look for when Buying a Home
Quality of the neighborhood – The National Association of Realtor’s 2012 Profile of Buyers and Sellers revealed that neighborhoods are really important to buyers, but that neighborhood choice varies by household composition.
Convenience to job – Commuting is a necessary evil, but homes that are close to work enhance work-life balance, a growing priority for many Americans, especially Millennials.
Overall affordability of homes – With job markets tight and retirement funds depleted or eroded thanks to the Great Recession, it has never been more important to keep housing related costs as low as possible, ideally no more than one third of your pre-tax income.
Quality of schools – A recent survey revealed that nearly 45 percent of today’s buyers are willing to pay a premium for quality schools
Homes suited for the next 15 years – Just five years ago, buyers were looking to stay in their home about 10 years. Today, buyers expect to stay closer to 15, so it’s important to find a home that can support lifestyles as they evolve through that time period.
A mortgage – In today’s tight credit environment, getting a mortgage can be a challenge. Buyers should be willing to consider homes below what they may quality for in order to bump up the loan to value ratio.
Energy efficiency – The National Association of Homebuilders surveyed buyers to see what was most important to them in new home construction and energy efficiency topped the list. Four of the top most wanted features involve saving energy: 94 percent of home buyers want energy-star rated appliances, 91 percent want an energy-star rating for the whole home, 89 percent want energy-star rated windows, and 88 percent want ceiling fans.
Open floor plans – Spaces that are great for entertaining mean quality time with friends and family, something especially important to Gen Y.
High ceilings – Taller ceilings are not only aesthetically pleasing in that they impart a grandness to the home, they also promote greater air circulation and more natural light than lower ceilings.
Technology – Can you run your home from a cell phone? Many homeonwers prize a homes’ technological amenities over curb appeal.