Buying a new house is a big step. Not only does it signal hope for the future, but it is a major investment. Even so, not everyone approaches looking for a new home in the same way. Many people simply gather all of the real estate listings they can and go around looking at as many as possible. Others, however, are more diligent and discerning. Instead of gathering the longest list of homes to look at, they only keep a list of those that meet their certain criteria. Here are three things you should keep in mind when looking at real estate listings to help narrow down your search.
1. Always consider the neighborhood.
One of the most important things you should always consider is the neighborhood the home is located in. While that 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home may be at a steal of a price, there is likely a reason for the bargain. If a home is in a neighborhood that is known for criminal activity or that is extremely run down, it can have a negative effect on your property value. This, in turn, can cause you to owe more on the home than it is worth if you try to sell it before you pay off the mortgage. So, always consider the neighborhood before you decide to include the home on your list of must-see houses.
2. Schools can be an important factor.
If you have children, or are planning to have any in the future, the schools that are located nearby the house should also be considered. Most online real estate listings will even include the names of the schools that are in the district where the home is located, so you likely won't have to track down that information. However, if you don't know anything about the schools in the area, you will have to do some detective work to see which ones are the best ones so you can look for houses only in those districts.
While some schools will allow students from other districts to attend, there may be fees involved and space could be limited. It is best to avoid that altogether and just buy a house in the district of the school you want your children to attend.
3. Try to avoid buying a home before you see it in person.
If you are moving to another state, or even another town, it can be tempting to buy a home based off of the real estate listing alone. After all, the real estate listing has shown you the house room by room and you have already researched the neighborhood and schools and found they are perfect for you. So, why would you need to actually go see the house in person?
The answer is simple: seeing a listing on paper or online is very different from seeing it in person. Features that you think might work for you when you see them in pictures may not work for you when you see them in person. For this reason, if you find a real estate listing that you really love, go see it in person before you buy. Most of the time, you will fall even more in love with the house once you see it, but it is better to be certain of that before you sign on the dotted line.