Buying a home is a big commitment. You will likely spend at least 5 years living in your new home, so being as informed as possible about your new home’s location and floorplan is an important step. We have compiled a list of 5 things to research before you buy a house – ask your real estate agent, conduct “experiments,” meet neighbors and stalk some online forums to get answers.
5 Things to Research BEFORE You Buy a Home
(in no particular order)
1. Traffic Patterns
You likely know the traffic patterns of the area you are looking for a new home in before you start looking, but spending a week day at a hotel near the location isn’t a bad idea. Drive to the location during rush hour, spend the night and drive your normal commute in the morning. Choosing a Monday or a Friday to try your “experiment” may be best as these are peak days for high traffic patterns.
2. Know Your Floorplan and What Renovations are Possible
If buying a precious 2 bedroom bungalow is on your list, don’t forget to check if there is room on the property and with the floorplan to potentially expand the living space in the new home if need be. While you may not consult an architect to get the answer to this question, having a general idea if it’s something that is even possible or where you would put the extra space is important.
3. Make Certain you “Fit” in the Area
Do your own research here, especially if you are moving to a more eclectic area of a city. Find out who your potential neighbors are. Drive around, get out and talk to people. Start to frequent local restaurants and get to know some of the people. Ask questions. Don’t be shy – when you are spending your hard earned cash and making a commitment as big as a new home, it’s in your best interest to be as informed as possible.
4. Determine your Closest Grocery Stores and Larger “Big Box” Stores
If you are currently at Target 4 times a week, what makes you think that you won’t be when you move? It may sound trivial, but the more “familiar” you can make your new surroundings, the more you will feel like a part of the community. Be sure that the stores that are most important to you are easily accessible from your new digs.
5. Find Out about Strict Homeowner’s Association Policies Before You Sign on the Dotted Line
This is a big one for those bound by HOAs. If you are buying a home with the assumption you will make exterior changes to the home, like changing landscaping, painting or even adding a fence, be sure it’s a possibility before you buy the home. Many HOAs require written notice and schematics for exterior changes, and must provide permission to the homeowner before the changes are made – make sure you know about this before it’s too late.