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Identifying Priorities For The House Hunt

By Margaret Crane for Right at Home Daily

Many of us would love a snazzy new sports car but a practical, inexpensive compact would suffice. The same logic applies to house shopping. The idea of moving into a large luxurious home in a top neighborhood is appealing, but can you really afford it?

To identify and organize your housing priorities, create a list of the essential criteria. To see the pluses and minuses on paper, and prioritizing them, helps the evaluation and decision process.

The top priority should be location. A house in a good location will, most likely, always retain its value. There are many location issues, such as commute, school district (even if you don't have children), shopping, services, public amenities, house of worship, and what you'll live near (like a dump site). Consider all of the factors before you make a decision.

Identifying Priorities For The House Hunt The next priority should be size. If you're single, you may want a second bedroom, but you typically won't need four. On the other hand, if you have three children, you need more bedrooms, bathrooms and possibly a bigger kitchen and a family room. Amenities shouldn't be at the top of your list, but they should factor into the equation. For example, if you develop your photographs, find a home with a walk-in closet, extra bedroom or basement so you can set up a darkroom. But make sure you have basic amenities that may be important to future buyers, like parking.

The condition of the home is important, too. Do you want to fix up or customize a house? Or is it to serve merely as a dwelling?

Finally, before you start hunting, get yourself pre-approved for a loan so you know exactly how much you can spend.

Once you identify your housing wants and needs you can start the hunt. Remember, no home will match your list perfectly so continue to look until you find something that meets practically all of your needs, and some of the other things you want in a home.

Assess the pros and cons of each house on paper. If you think you've found the house of your dreams, but the kitchen and bathrooms need total gutting, ask yourself if you're up to the work and expenses, or can you accept it as is?

Keep your eyes open for the house that meets your criteria. Don't settle for the first house you find.

Take the time to make the right decision. Unless the market is so hot that home sales occur in hours or minutes you should have time to deliberate. Is your answer the same from day to day? It should be.

Hammer Have a question about house hunting? Pose it to other home owners in our forum.