Buying your first home is an exciting time. But when you’re looking at house after house with your Realtor, it can be easy to get distracted from why you’re buying a home. To make sure you stay within your budget and get everything you need out of your first home, we talked with Homeowner Development Manager Pa Lor for some expert tips on what to consider when searching for your first home:
Keep Yourself Grounded
“Knowing what you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re not can keep you grounded in that home search,” says Pa. She suggests focusing primarily on items that are “make it or break it” when searching for a home. That’s why you need to have a strong delineation between your wants (like a porch or a wood stove) and your needs (like the size of the house and the neighborhood it's in).
Our First Home Checklist is a great resource to help you separate your wants and needs when buying a house.
Consider the Uses of Your Home
Who will use your home? What is your purpose for owning a home? How long do you plan to own your home? Do you plan to grow your family in this home? Questions like these can help you pick the best house for your lifestyle. Maybe you’re newlyweds with no kids, so you don’t need a big house. Maybe that little one-bedroom, one-bathroom house is perfect for your life right now, but if you plan to have kids soon, it might not be the best investment. The right home for you totally depends on how you plan to live your life, both now and a few years down the road.
Pa reminds us that it’s important to think about buying a home in a strong school district, even if you don’t have children old enough for schooling yet (or even have kids at all!). Homes in great school districts typically retain their value and allow you to grow in your home, so you won't move when it's time to send your children to school.
Think About Future Value
If you’re touring a home and you see an unfinished basement, you should see that as an opportunity. An unfinished room gives you the benefit of finishing it and adding value to your home (both in how you'll use it and how much you can sell it for in the future). In fact, many of our Habitat-built homes have unfinished basements so our homeowners can build some more value into their property.
There are a lot more considerations for buying a home than the price tag! Make sure you remember Pa’s tips and buy a home that will work with how you’re planning to live your life.