When you’re shopping for a new house, it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole as you search house after house and study floor plan after floor plan. There are so many things to consider, such as location, school zones, community amenities, and home builders.
Before you even look at houses and floor plans, a good place to start is with how much home you can afford. This can help you narrow down your search and determine your priorities.
You can work with a real estate agent to help you determine how much you can afford to pay for a home, or try a home affordability calculator that can help you estimate your monthly payments. Be sure you leave plenty of breathing room for property taxes, homeowner association (HOA) fees, and unexpected expenses. It’s also a good move to get pre-approved for a loan up to a specific amount. The lender will look at your income, debts, and credit history.
Once you have a number in mind, then you can work through these tips.
1. Determine the Top Features You Want in a Neighborhood
To help you figure out the general location, start with what you’d like in a neighborhood. Do you want to live in a walkable neighborhood? What about safety? Do you want to be in a preferred school district or near specific schools?
Does anyone regularly commute to work or extracurriculars? That could be a factor in location. What about proximity to grocery stores, services, other retailers, and leisure activities?
2. Prioritize Your Top Home Features
Every homebuyer has their own priorities for what they want in a home. Some want a giant backyard while others would rather have a front porch. You can change a lot of things about a home, but one thing you can’t change is the amount of land.
Another thing to think about is how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need—especially if you have children or expect frequent guests. Does someone work from home? They may want a floor plan with a home office. Do you often entertain big groups? Some floor plans are more conducive to large gatherings than others. What about smart home capabilities? This could play a factor in your decision.
To avoid spending more than you want, create a list of “must-haves” and “nice to haves” to help you with your decisions.
3. Plan for the Future
If you may want to have children in the future, consider a home with room to grow. While a two-bedroom may be all you need now, you may not want to move when you have children. Or perhaps, a parent or other relative will be living with you. If you’re thinking about adding a furry family member, a front and backyard may be a top priority.
Think about Maintenance and Upkeep
The newer the home, the less maintenance you will have. When you’re the first owner of a new home, you don’t have to consider the home’s maintenance history, as everything is in tip-top shape. But an older home will most likely need regular repairs and updates. Yards and flower beds also need regular upkeep. Consider if you want a smaller yard that just needs to be mowed every once in a while, or if you’d rather get to enjoy seasonal flower gardens and greenery, with a bit more upkeep?
Remember, you can update and change a lot of things both on the exterior and in the interior of a home, but the costs of changes can add up quickly. It’s easy to change the paint color, but not so easy to change the floor plan.
Looking for a new home in Kyle? Crosswinds is a new master-planned community offering family-friendly amenities with beautiful homes from the area’s top builders. Meet the Kyle home builders or contact our Crosswinds team to start the journey to finding your dream home.
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