Purchasing a “Dream Home” is one of those life accomplishments that top nearly everyone’s bucket list. Whether you prefer a modernized urban loft or a sprawling suburban home with a white picket fence, most of us hope to find a home that feels like it was made specifically for our family. However, searching for your dream home comes with different considerations than any other real estate purchase. Since you’ll likely be aiming to stay in the property for the foreseeable future, you’ll want to look for a property that will keep you and your family happy for the long term. Don’t be afraid to be picky and hold out until you find a home that feels right.

How can you tell that you’ve found your perfect place?  Many people say you’ll just know. However you can use these tips to help determine which house is best for you.

Once you’ve settled on a couple of preferred neighborhoods for your home search, it’s time to pick out a few homes to view. Having a house features “wish list” keeps you focused on which features are most important to you.

When narrowing down your home search, consider the following:

10 Feature Wish List to Keep Your Search Focused

  1. The Features You Have Always Wanted: Make sure to be honest about your wish list.
  2. The Neighbourhood and Surrounding Area: Make sure you fall in love with your surroundings.
  3. Lot Location and Size: Make sure your lot gives you a view you can’t get enough of.
  4. The Age of a Property: Figure out whether you prefer the charm of an older home or the sleekness of a newer model.
  5. Your Ideal Home Style: Think about the style of living that works best for you.
  6. The Right Amount of Space: Your new property should give you enough room to roam.
  7. A Layout You Love: Concentrate on finding a layout that suits your needs
  8. The Potential for Future Projects: Scope out the potential for projects before submitting an offer
  9. Costs That Make You Comfortable: Stay within a budget that leaves you feeling comfortable.
  10. Compromises You Can Handle: When it comes to your dream home, be wary of big compromises.

There are several forms of home ownership: single-family homes, multiple-family homes, condominiums and co-ops.

Single-family homes: One home per lot.

Multiple-family homes: Some buyers, particularly first-timers, start with multiple-family dwellings, so they’ll have rental income to help with their costs. Many mortgage plans, including VA and FHA loans, can be used for buildings with up to four units, if the buyer intends to occupy one of them.

Condominiums: With a condo, you own “from the plaster in.” You also own a certain percentage of the “common elements” – staircases, sidewalks, roofs, etc. Monthly charges pay your share of taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and maintenance. A homeowner’s association administers the development.

Co-ops: In some cities, cooperative apartments are common. With co-ops, you purchase shares in a corporation that owns the whole building, and you receive a lease to your own unit. A board of directors, comprised of owners and elected by owners, supervises the building management. Monthly charges include your share of an overall mortgage on the building.

Decide What Age and Condition of Home You Want to Purchase

Weigh your needs, budget and personal tastes in deciding whether you want to buy a newly constructed home, an older home or a “fixer-upper” that requires some work.

Consider Resale Potential

As you look at homes, you may want to keep in mind these resale considerations.

      • One-bedroom condos are more difficult to resell than two-bedroom condos.
      • Two-bedroom/one-bath single houses generally have less appeal than houses with three or more bedrooms, and therefore have less appreciation potential.
      • Homes with “curb appeal,” i.e., well-maintained, attractive and with a charming appearance from the street, are the easiest to resell.
      • The most expensive houses on the street or ones with anything unusual or unique are not suited for resale. The best investment potential is traditionally found in a less expensive, more moderately sized home.

Use a Home Comparison Chart to Keep Your Observations Organized

Before you begin the home buying process, resolve to act promptly when you do find the right house. Every REALTOR® has stories to tell about a couple who looked far and wide for their dream home, finally found it, and then said, “We always promised my Dad we’d sleep on it, so we’ll make an offer tomorrow.” Many times the story had a sad ending – someone else came in that evening with an offer that was accepted.

Resolve that you will act decisively when you find the house that’s clearly right for you. This is particularly important after a long search or if the house is newly listed and/or underpriced.

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