10 Home Buying Tips to Get the Right Amount of House

Home Buying Tips – When deciding the size of your next home, you’ve got a number of considerations:

  • If you plan to have more children
  • Whether you want a home office
  • If you need a yard big enough for a dog… or chickens
  • What you wish you had space for, such as a crafting area, a home theater, a children’s play room or a workshop
  • How much time you have for keeping your home clean and organized
  • Whether the kids have moved out and you need less space
  • If you now need a single-story home for health reasons
  • When you’re tired of caring for such a big yard

Of course, you need to figure out how much house can you afford. Home buying tips don’t get more fundamental than that. Have a conversation with your lender before you start house shopping. Visit Zachery “Zack” Adam of Prime Mortgage Lending, Inc. (dba PrimeRate Mortgage Lending, Inc.) to get pre-qualified, so you know exactly how much home you can afford. Then you’ll be in position to make qualitative decisions about size.

Before you attend your first open house, sit down with your family to get everyone’s input. Discuss your options and what each request will cost — in time, money, future value and/or lifestyle change. To help you with this process, here are 10 home buying tips to consider before deciding on the size of your new place.

1. The Affordability Issue

The difference between a two-bedroom home and a three-bedroom home may be hundreds of dollars a month. Examine your want list. Can you afford to double your square footage to get everything in one home, or do you need to trim the list? Be realistic because being “house poor” takes the joy out of owning a bigger place. Extra bathrooms, finished attics and “bonus rooms” all increase the price tag.

2. Particular Space Requirements

Home buying tips fly out the window if you have to accommodate certain needs. Maybe you have to have wheelchair access. Perhaps an in-law suite is a must. These needs are non-negotiable. But there are other things that may require more space, too, like your grandmother’s oversized dining room table gathering dust in your basement. Or space for you and your partner to both work from home. A bigger house means opportunities to increase efficiency and ease in your life.

3. How Much Yard

People are particular about their yards. For some families, it’s extra living space for kids and pets; for others, it’s just extra maintenance work. The amount of acreage you purchase impacts the price (and the real estate taxes) of the home. The rule is: if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Home buying tips like this one can save you money and headaches down the road.

4. Your Future Plans

If you’re a single couple planning on having children, you should make sure your new house has a room for the nursery or child’s bedroom. If you’ve been dreaming of having a dog, make sure your new place has a big enough yard and indoor romping space. Make sure you have the right number of rooms and the right size yard for the things you’d like to be doing in five, 10 and 20 years.

5. Family Member Needs

If your spouse needs a quiet space for work, look for a finished garage with an office or attic space you could convert. If you have two teens currently sharing a room, find a house with that extra bedroom. If someone in your family has physical needs, be on the lookout for extra-wide doorways, special bathroom features and other accessibility upgrades. Since these features cost extra, be prepared to pay.

6. Utility Bills Mount Up

The bigger the space, the higher the heating and cooling bills. And if you’re thinking of adding full or half bathrooms, your water bill will rise proportionately. Figure on higher utility bills when you buy a larger home — add them into your budget — as it may cut into the amount you can pay for your mortgage.  Conversely, if you’re downsizing, lower utility bills may mean a bigger monthly mortgage budget… and some of those upgrades you wanted suddenly become possible.

7. Room for Your Hobby

Collecting is fun, but if you need space for display or a controlled environment for storage, put it on the list. Maybe you’re looking for built-ins to house your great aunt’s china. Note that these home buying tips likely cause the price on the house to climb, so take that into consideration.

8. Space to Entertain

Home buying tips, like this one, only matter if they matter to you. If the number one item on your wish list is a huge kitchen — you are probably willing to pay for it. Fixtures, flooring, countertops and appliances can drive up the cost. Ditto for oversized living areas and other entertainment spaces, such as the family room, dining room, and outside patio. Unless you entertain regularly, look for a home with a smaller kitchen or without a formal dining room to keep the price down.

9. A Work in Progress

A large house where nearly every room needs work means more time and money before you can settle in. Are you ready to do repair work and painting every weekend for the next six months? Can you afford to hire someone to do it or will you do it yourself? While a fixer-upper may seem desirable because of its lower price tag, consider the impact on your time and savings account. On the other hand, home buying tips like this one allow you to tap into your creative builder side while making the home a great investment.

10. Resale Value Matters

It’s not unusual for larger homes to come with strange floor plans. Older homes weren’t equipped with modern conveniences, such as a laundry room. Additional rooms sometimes were put in odd places, causing a head-scratcher of a layout. Sometimes, walls came down to make small rooms bigger, leading to rooms that can only be reached by walking through another room. While you may love unique floor plans, think about how hard it may be to persuade another family to buy it.

These 10 home buying tips are meant to help you focus on your wants and needs to narrow down the list for your next home. Every homebuyer is unique. Don’t let a Realtor or your friends push their home buying tips on you. Armed with your own clearly defined priorities, you’ll have a much better chance of finding the ideal next home for you and your family.