Housing Considerations for Families

If you are in the market for a new home, there are many factors to consider, especially if you have a family.

Whether you are renting or buying, you want to make the best decisions for your lifestyle. While it is easy to find a house that you love, there is more to consider than just the looks of a home. Your first impression of the house should not cloud your judgement against other decisions that need to be made.

Make sure that you are making a list of the most important factors that your new home must have so that when you seriously consider a property, you know that it measures up to your standards. The sections below will act as a guideline for the most practical considerations when looking for a new home. If you are interested in making sure your dream home is also a good investment, refer to the sections below.

Location, School District and Crime Rate

When you are considering a new home, you need to keep in mind how valuable it is. Location, school district and crime rate all play a part in a home’s value. When it comes time to resell your home, these variables will determine how much your home is worth.

The location of your home usually is the most important factor in determining its value. The house can be less visually appealing and the yard can look unkempt, but if the neighborhood is outstanding, you may still want to consider the house. The location is what buyers value the most, and no matter how the real estate market is doing, the location will always be an asset. Remember that you can always renovate the home to your liking, but its location cannot be altered.

If your family has school-aged children, it is important that the school district be respectable. Not only do you want your children going to the best schools, but a desirable school district will also be a great selling point if you choose to move in the future. Even if you do not have children, paying a little extra for a home in a reputable school district may pay off when it is time to put your home on the market.

Finally, make sure you are considering the crime rate of the neighborhood. If you find a great house for a seemingly low price, there is a large possibility that the crime rate in the area is high or that there is an underlying problem with the neighborhood. To avoid buying a home in an area with a high crime rate, research the crime statistics for the neighborhood. This information can be found online. Many websites offer snapshots of crime activity in neighborhoods. You should check out these websites before getting too involved in the home-buying or renting process both for your sake and the sake of your home’s resale value.

Positioning, Walkability and Character

Because your new house will be surrounded by trees, terrain or other house, this will affect its desirability, not only for you but also for future buyers. Consider the setback of your property line. This is the distance between the home and the property line. Do you want a large or short setback? Large setbacks mean that you will have more space, while short setbacks can mean that your living room is looking into your neighbor’s kitchen.

You should also prioritize topography. Your home should ideally sit at the highest point of the surrounding area for proper drainage. If your house is below-grade, this could result in a wet basement whenever it rains.

For condos, it is ideal to choose a first-floor unit as opposed to higher units if you are concerned about walking up too many stairs or having to take the elevator every time you want to leave your home. Townhouse end units are also more desirable than interior units.

If you enjoy walking to destinations close to your neighborhood, make sure that walkability is a factor that you consider. Whether you are close to a corner store or park, make sure your neighborhood has sidewalks. A lot of newer houses do not have sidewalks around them.

Sidewalks can encourage you and your neighbors to be outside more, which is also a key factor in discouraging crime. Before getting serious about a home, consider the neighborhood’s character. If the neighbors have parties on the weekend and you prefer quiet evenings at home, that may not be the neighborhood for you. Keep in mind that neighborhoods with older residents tend to be quieter.

If you have your eye on a neighborhood, make sure you visit it at different times of the day and night to know if living there is worth pursuing.

Know What You Are Buying

When you are purchasing a home, it is common to get blindsided with different fees and taxes, which is why it is important to understand where your money is going before you make a purchase. One way to combat this is to make sure you have a standard home inspection done.

Some listings say the property has to be sold “as is,” meaning there are probably repairs that the seller is not willing to make. If you are not interested in home projects after moving in, you may want to look at newer properties or at properties where the seller is willing to make any necessary repairs prior to closing on the home.

No matter how good your negotiating skills are, you will most likely pay the market value price for the home you decide on. Think of ways to add value to the home. Market conditions can change, and it is important for you to get back that investment in the case that you need to sell.

When you purchase a home, there are other costs that go beyond the purchase price. Buying or renting in a community with a homeowner’s association (HOA) could mean that you have to pay added fees. This could be a small annual fee for a single-family home, but condo fees are usually monthly and can get expensive.

It is also important that you do not overlook taxes. If you are looking in the city for a home, taxes can be expensive. If you like a home with high property taxes, you may be able to find homes or condos with significantly lower taxes in a neighboring jurisdiction.

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