House hunting can be exciting, but it can be overwhelming too. Even if you know what you want, it can be hard to sort out what is crucial, and what is merely a “nice to have.” Here are three home features that you don’t want to compromise on, and three more that you should ignore, even if they often can be hard to overlook.
You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Location is essential. Even more so if you have kids and want to get in a certain school district. You can change many things about a house, but location isn’t one of them. When you're house hunting, look for a home that works for you in the best neighborhood you can afford. Like a neighborhood? Check it at different times of day. A neighborhood can be quite different at night, or during commute times.
Does the size and layout of the house work for your family? Think about how long you plan to live in the house and what your future needs might be. Thinking about starting a family in a few years? Maybe working from home? Home remodeling TV shows might make it look easy to knock down walls, but it will cost a lot more than you think. Consider the size and location of the lot, too. You might not mind a busy street, but it could hurt your resale value.
Pay attention to the way the house faces and the amount of natural light. A home that faces north, with small windows and a lot of surrounding trees may feel like a cave in the winter. On the other hand, a west-facing house with no shade may be blazing hot in the summer. Yes, you may be able to add lighting, or plant trees for more shade, but be sure to consider your preferences and what’s possible, given the house layout and surroundings.
When you're house hunting, you may want a move-in ready home, but even if you’re not a DIYer, there are many cosmetic changes you can make that won’t break your budget.
It can be challenging to look past pink walls and burgundy carpet. Or ugly wallpaper and dreary curtains. But these things are fairly easy and inexpensive to fix, so don’t cross a house off your list just because of an ugly interior. Exercise your imagination and see if you can look past the surface to see if the flaws are fixable.
Not a fan of brass fixtures? It’s amazing how little things like new door knobs, cabinet hardware, and light fixtures can make a big difference. Even doors and plumbing fixtures aren’t that difficult to swap out.
A yard full of overgrown bushes or a dying, patching lawn can make any home look uninviting. Taming or updating landscaping is often an easy fix that can make a big impact. Similarly, a dingy front door, faded house numbers, and old light fixtures are all easy to update. When in doubt, remember that your agent is your best resource in helping you understand what changes are easy fixes, and what might be deal breakers.