How to Make Smart House Buying Decisions

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Many people buy homes based largely on emotions. They fall in love with the neighborhood, or the kitchen or the large master bath. Based on that strong emotion, they buy a house without putting enough though into the finances, the commute and other important features. If you are in the market for a new home, here are the things you must consider if you are going to make a smart decision.

Consider the Commute

The day to day grind of getting to and from work can wear on your nerves rather quickly. Before committing to buying any house, take the time to travel that commute during the regular time. Knowing that it will take you a full hour or more to get to work could easily entice you to continue the search. While you’re at it, travel to your favorite grocery store and restaurants. While the idea of living out in the suburbs may look good on paper, you might soon decide that it’s not worth the extra travel time.
Visit the House at Different Times The neighborhood might be completely peaceful and welcoming during the day, but the evenings and weekends could be a different story. Don’t put an offer in until you have visited the house at a few different times of the day throughout the week. It’s better to discover that the neighbors like to party hard before you buy the house rather than after you have moved in and start losing sleep.

Look Beyond the Surface

Fresh paint can hide a multitude of sins, and beautiful surfaces can distract you from serious problems. Don’t get taken in by the lovely travertine tiles in the bathroom if you are also noticing gaping cracks in the grout or foundation problems in the basement. You can add travertine to any home, but foundation issues and worn electrical systems are serious problems.

Have a Budget and Stick to it

Most people call the bank and ask what they can qualify for. This is a huge mistake because the bank is quite likely to approve you for a home you really cannot afford. While you can make the note on paper, it will leave you unable to take vacations, prepare for emergencies or save for retirement. The fact is that the larger, more attractive house isn’t worth it if you stay up at night worrying about making the mortgage and feeding the kids. Determine how much you can afford to pay, and make sure you stick to that budget. If you aren’t sure where to start, then you should sit down with a financial planner to make that determination.

Have a Realtor on Your Side

People often try to buy their own homes outside of an agent to avoid paying a commission. Unfortunately, this can easily lead to you paying too much or getting into a house with serious problems. Just as you trust your mechanic to keep your car running and you see your doctor to stay healthy, you must have an agent to help ensure that you buy a house the smart way. Your agent will help you avoid pitfalls and ensure that you aren’t taken for a ride by the sellers.

There’s more to buying a house than going out and falling in love with a property. You must consider the reality of living in the new neighborhood. Everything from the commute to how loud the neighbors get in the evening will impact how pleasurable your new home is. Invest in an agent to help you avoid pitfalls, and make sure that you establish a sound budget and stick to it. Don’t be fooled by attractive surfaces in any home, it’s the structure underneath that really matters. With a little foresight and some patience, you will find the perfect home for you and your family.

Tiffany Sundal is a guest writer for where you can read more about Net Loans.