As a buyer, how do you determine what is essential in a home purchase, what you want, and what you really need? It’s important to do some narrowing down before you begin your home search. A house purchase is often an emotional and anxiety producing experience that obligates you financially for years. On the other hand, it will probably be the best investment you’ve made in your life.

To increase the confidence that you are buying a house that you will enjoy for years, you need to buy with your head as well as your heart. It’s important to do your homework first. Make a careful assessment of where you live now. What do you like and dislike about the neighborhood? Room sizes? Architectural style? Number and size of closets? Write down your thoughts and prioritize what is most important to you.

Oftentimes, the kitchen is an area where people spend a lot of time. Look at yours now. Are the work areas large enough? Is there a sufficient supply of cabinets? Is there enough food and dishware storage? Are the appliances placed correctly and with ease of access? Is there a place to “hang out” in the kitchen?

Think about how you would actually use the spaces in a new house. A large master bedroom suite may look great on a home tour, but would it be more practical to have a large living area for entertaining? A grand foyer is always appealing, but would your square footage be better spent on an extra bedroom or bathroom?

Financing your new home Don’t expect to find your dream house the first week. It will take several weeks and viewings with your real estate agent to acquaint yourself with what’s out there. More importantly, make sure you know your price range before you begin. Get prequalified with a lender, and don’t waste time looking at homes that aren’t in your price range.

Don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent about anything. If they don’t know, they should be able to get the answer for you. Ask for a brochure and any applicable disclosure information and feature details. Then, compare those to your want and need list to see if this might be the house for you!

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