Whether you are looking to buy a home – perhaps you are a newlywed couple looking to settle down, or are simply looking for a new place to rent and call home sweet home, there are some steps to take along the way to ensure that you choose the best possible location and setting.
First of all, even before you head out the door into the nearby neighborhoods to spy the homes out, stop for a moment and really think about what it is that you and your family really want. While you may not be able to be so picky when it comes to renting a property, you should definitely be picky when it comes to choosing a home to buy. Sit down with your spouse and think about all the things you have always wanted, that you cherish, or that you just shouldn’t do without.
Start your hunting process by taking different routes to and from work each day. You’d be surprised at what you can find for sale – perhaps by owner – using this method instead of the traditional newspaper, internet, tv, or even (yes, I’m sorry) realtor. Sometimes there are some real treasures that are for sale by owner and never posted anywhere else except in their own yard!
Take a weekend afternoon to drive into some other areas with the family, in addition to taking different routes to and from work each day. This can not only be a good way to find properties, but it’s also a ton of fun! I remember doing this with my mother throughout the week. We were not rushed (not really) and could see all the beautiful homes and we also had good conversation, laughs, and even stopped to treat ourselves to ice cream or lunch! Make it a fun thing. After all, finding your perfect home shouldn’t be laborious and boring. And for cryin’ out loud . . . dream a little (aka when you see a house and realize it’s way past your bank account’s means)!!!
When you have found a house or even just a neighborhood that you really like, spend some time there. Park your car at different times of the day and simply listen and observe:
What type of people are there (perhaps walking, playing, etc.)? What do you think about them?
What kind of noises are there (such as are you near a major highway) and what do you think about this?
Any strange smells (I remember some beautiful homes we had once seen, but the air reeked of a nearby massive manure pile! It was suffocatingly gross)? And can you live with that?
Are people’s lawns nicely kept? Do you see people mowing, or doing other duties?
How about the cars in the neighborhood? Are they kept up, or falling apart and older?
Notice any pets in the area?
Would you and your family feel safe and comfortable walking in this neighborhood?
Do a little research about the area. Find out if there are community centers, playgrounds, pools, libraries, schools, and other basics. Is the grocery store within a good distance, as well as other favorite locations of yours? Take into consideration how far you are willing to travel, and if you are interested in doing this on foot.
Also be sure to check out your area’s sexual offender’s registry, found at www.sexualoffenders.com. Keep in mind that most areas always have sexual offenders, but it’s really good to know just where they are what their names and faces are.
Consider how other sales in this same neighborhood are going. Are there many houses for sale? It might be good to find out why this might be the case. I remember one neighborhood my family was interested in was actually about to undergo major changes, including some houses being torn down and other yards being cut into to make way for a future highway! It is a good idea to look into these things.
May all go well in your house-hunting efforts!