What does your future lifestyle hold?

How many bedrooms will you one day require? Your preschoolers will be teens some day. Are you planning to stay in your home that long? Perhaps your teens are ready to move out on their own. What will you do with all the extra space? When you're thinking about accommodating your family needs, think of things like parking. How many cars will require space? You'll also want to consider proximity to schools in the area.

How is your work situation?

These days people tend to change jobs frequently, and sometimes the best way to get a promotion is to move to another company. If you might be transferred, will you be able to sell quickly? Keeping work in mind, how long do you want to spend commuting? Do you drive or rely on public transportation?

As you can see, you will want to give some thought to how long you intend to stay in your home. It may be difficult to answer before you've even found your home, but if it's your first home give some thought to the resale value when it is time to upgrade. On the other hand, if you're planning to stay in your home for al ong time, consider your future needs and purchase a home that will accommodate them.

Do you live a maintenance-averse lifestyle?

When you're looking at homes, consider the advantages of brick over a wood frame house when it comes to painting. Take a look at the garden. If you don't enjoy cutting grass, then an expansive lawn may not fit into your lifestyle. You can also evaluate the possibility of future maintenance and repairs based on the age of the house. If you don't like the idea of major renovations, a newer home may be your best option.

Is your lifestyle more geared to a fixer-upper fantasy?

Many first time buyers have them. It goes something like this: You find a big home in a great neighborhood that is well below what you'd expect to pay for that house in that neighborhood. You see a couple of coats of paint, new carpets, a few repairs and voila, a dream home without the nightmare price.

Before you jump headlong into this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity consider how you'll do all of the work. Will it be weeknights after a long day at the office, or will you hire someone? Are ready to live in a dusty mess as you renovate? Do a realisitic assessment of the job at hand and be sure to have the house inspected. The last thing you want is a bargain home that turns into a money pit. You're far better to find a house that costs a little more each month but doesn't need much work than to buy a fixer-upper that eats up hundreds of dollars each month. For example, lets say you could buy a really nice house with minimal work required for $10,000 more than a fixer-upper. At today's mortgage rates, assuming you could stay within your monthly budget, that really nice home would cost you only about $65 per month more than the fixer-upper. If you buy the fixer-upper, you'll be spending a lot more than $65 each month to whip it into shape, as well as the strain your family will go through living in an unfinished home.

Back

First Time Buyers / Make an Offer / Costs / Home Inspection / Legal / Mortgage / Zero Down Payment