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4. Determine Needs & Location

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Now that you know how much home you are comfortable with purchasing (your price range), and have chosen a mortgage lender, it's time to narrow down the search for your new home. Defining your wants and needs will help increase the efficiency of the home search process.

A. Determining Needs

Start by thinking about your present home and making a list of which features you would like repeated in your new home. Next envision your new home and try to build it in your mind. Does it have more bedrooms than your present home? Do you need more bathrooms? Do you need a bigger yard? Click on the following House Hunting Checklist link and print this handy guide. Use it to identify your wants and needs. The "needs" list will narrow your search by focusing on those homes meeting your most important criteria. Your "wants" list will help you choose among the remaining possibilities. In a buyer's market you can widen your wants list and be more selective.

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B. Determining Location

You have heard it before. The Golden Rule of Real Estate: "The three most important considerations about real estate are location, location and location." It's much easier to fix up a house than to fix up a neighborhood. At this point you should consider contacting a licensed real estate professional, especially if you are new in town. But before you do you will want to be able to explain to your agent some of the constraints you have in terms of where you would like to live.

Here are a few things your agent will want to know to narrow the scope of your home search.

  1. What types of homes would you consider; single family, town home, condo?
  2. What is the maximum commute time tolerable to your place of employment?
  3. Must you live within a certain commute time of an airport or other mode of transportation?
  4. Do you wish to avoid traveling through tunnels or over bridges to and from work?
  5. What public school districts are acceptable to you? Which ones are not?
  6. Do you wish to live within a certain commute time of a private school, college, university, hospital, medical facility or place of worship?
  7. Are you ok living within a community governed by a homeowner's association?
  8. Do you want to buy new construction only or will you consider resale properties?
  9. With regards to resale homes, how old is too old?
  10. What features would you like to have available within your community? Pool, Clubhouse, Golf Course, Marina, Tennis Courts, Horse Stables & Pastures.
  11. Does the property need to be zoned other than residential? Agricultural?
  12. Does the property need to be serviced by city water & sewer or is well water and/or a septic system ok with you? What other utilities are must haves? Gas?
  13. If waterfront property is important to you, what types of water are acceptable? Deep Water, Tidal Creek, River, Bay, Oceanfront.

You should discuss any special considerations you have with your REALTOR®. Only by understanding your personal real estate needs can an agent effectively help you.

Congratulations, You Have Graduated to the Next Step >>

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10 Steps to Buying a Home