Real Estate: House-Hunting Checklist

A house-hunting checklist will save you valuable time by ruling out the things you have no interest in and knowing what you seriously need in a real estate property. Here I provide some ideas to consider in preparing a house-hunting checklist.

Know What You Need and Can Honestly Afford

After wasting endless hours looking at homes with several realtors, I decided to make a list of everything my husband and I desired in a home and most importantly; what we could “honestly” afford.

I believe the protocol in all states varies, but in Massachusetts you have to be prequalified financially before you begin house hunting. Even if you do qualify somewhat in the upper ranks financially, let the current economic recession be a reminder that your income can drop off at any time. Stay within your means.

Putting you and your family’s needs down on paper is a real eye-opener. Do you genuinely require five bedrooms or will three suffice? Instead of looking at those extra rooms (and bigger mortgage) as a play area or office; is there another part of the home you could arrange to have the extra play space and computer?

If you look at a smaller home because it is more affordable and you have the idea of expanding the house with an addition; make sure you check out property lines to be sure you will be able to add on another bedroom or a family room. When homes are built clustered together, the property lines may prevent you from doing so.

Down Sizing and Elderly Parents

It is common to want to downsize when the children leave home. This may be an intelligent move of course, but there are other things to consider as well. With an eye to the future, will there be aging parents to care for? Are you going to eventually have to move one or both parents into your home?

When we put together our house-hunting checklist, we were aware that my mother would most likely be moving in with us within a year. We also had to consider that eventually, my mother-in-law would need care as well. Our checklist had to include a home with enough space and privacy for our moms and for ourselves.

With the privacy issue and space factor being huge for me, we looked for real estate property with a mother-in-law apartment or a detached garage with an apartment above. I realized, though, an apartment above a garage was really not feasible because of stairs, so I eliminated that type of structure from the list entirely.

Land: Garden Space and Room to Play

The amount of acreage a home sits on may or may not play a role in your search for real estate property now, but down the line you might want to plant vegetable and flower gardens. With the sky-rocketing cost of produce and organic everything, there has been a massive revival in vegetable gardening and canning those fruits of labor.

Think twice about purchasing a home without a decent yard. No matter how much you love the house or the price tag; it is not worth it if there is no space for the kids to play or for you to relax. Tending a yard and making it your haven is one of life’s little pleasures.

There are many more items you can include in a real estate checklist when you start thinking about it. These are just a few to get you moving in the right direction. Before you begin scoping out real estate property, have your checklist ready; you will save a lot of time and aggravation.

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