Step 4: Finding a Home

Evaluating & Viewing Your Options

There are many things to look at and to consider when you are searching for your dream home, and there are some general guidelines that can make your search easier. Here are our suggestions:


What factors should I consider?

Finding The 'Perfect' Home

While a truly "perfect" home does not exist, there are great purchases out there to meet personal requirements. To find the best potential match, however, buyers do need to consider several important factors that go beyond size and number of rooms. Location and everything that can go along with it can also play a big role in determining if a purchase is a sound one to make.

Some of the factors that buyers may want to take into account as they search for a home include the school district, neighborhood, safety issues, resale potential and value retention.

Why Do Schools Matter?

Even if a buyer does not have children, the quality of the involved school district can become an issue if the home is ever resold. This makes checking into schools smart for buyers with a personal circumstance.

One of the best ways to check into a school district is to go through the particular state's board of education. Most states grade schools and districts based on standardized testing. A Realtor knowledgeable of the local market can also provide information about schools.

Checking Into The Neighborhood

The overall feel and amenities of a neighborhood in which a home is located can also become a big issue for buyers personally and down the road if a resale becomes a possibility. Some of the considerations that can impact a buyer's overall satisfaction with a purchase and future value of the home include:

  • Parks – The proximity of neighborhood parks and playgrounds can positively impact home value and enjoyment as long as these facilities are well maintained. If they are not, they can have an adverse effect.
  • Other amenities – The proximity of the home in question to shopping, doctors' offices, banks and other amenities can also be of concern for buyers for personal reasons and may also impact resale down the road.

Safety Matters

There is more to selecting a good neighborhood than looking at amenities and schools. The potential safety and security afforded by a neighborhood can also prove to be a big concern. Some factors buyers may wish to look into include:

  • The crime rate for the street, neighborhood and community. Local police and/or a personal Realtor can assist with obtaining this information.
  • Distance of the home from a fire station and fire hydrants.
  • Distance of the home from a hospital with emergency facilities.

Looking At Resale Potential

While first-time buyers are not necessarily looking five or 10 years down the road, it is a good idea to do so. The resale potential can help buyers decide if a home is a sound investment or not. The above factors can all come into play along with the condition of the home when determining resale potential.

About Value Retention

Before making a final decision to buy a particular home, purchasers may also want to ask themselves some serious questions about the value of a home a few years down the road. The questions to ask include:

  • Will I be able to get my money back out of the house?
  • How long do I have to own it to get my money out of it?

A Realtor can help buyers answer these questions, but preliminary mortgage information may be required to do so.

Finding just the right home to buy can go well beyond the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. Buyers will also likely want to delve deeper and look at the quality of the neighborhood they are considering along with the home's potential to turn into a sound investment.


How can I make my home search easier?

Home Search Dos and Don'ts

For many first-time homebuyers the real fun of house hunting comes from the search. Viewing properties can prove to be very exciting, but there are some do's and don'ts purchasers may want to consider as they walk through different homes, trying to find just the right one to suit their needs.

What To Do

These "do's" can make the process of viewing homes more fruitful:

  • Buy a notebook – Taking copious notes about each property viewed can prove very important later. After several homes have been seen, their details can all blur together. Jot down things you like about a house and features that may not appeal.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions – Ask anything that comes to mind about the home and the neighborhood. If you cannot ask during the viewing, check with your Realtor later. Use your notebook to write down questions you would like to get answered.
  • View multiple homes – Even if you are convinced the first home you see is "the one," take the time to view other properties in your price range. Doing so can give you a better frame of reference about what is truly available.
  • View favored properties twice – If a home really strikes a chord, make sure to view it twice to be sure before moving ahead in the process.
  • Don't get emotionally attached (just yet) – If you do miss out on a buying opportunity, hold your chin high and keep looking. (Now, if you really do love a house, don't wait too long to decide. Someone else might like it, too!)
  • Keep an open mind – Try to see a home's potential rather than its present condition. Dirt and dust can be washed away. Cosmetic repairs are often easy to make.

What Not To Do

There are a few things buyers may want to avoid doing as they search for potential homes. They include:

  • Taking pictures without permission – Refrain from snapping shots inside an occupied home unless you have the owner's permission. This is simply bad etiquette.
  • Looking where you know you are not interested – There is no point wasting your time checking out a home or neighborhood you know you do not like. Make your opinions known to your Realtor.
  • Viewing properties outside your price range – While you may be preapproved for a loan of $200,000, you and the bank might not agree what is a comfortable range for your budget. Be sure to pick a pricing target that works for you within the confines of the bank approval. Chances are your range may be lower than the approval figure. Take the time to share your desired range with your Realtor so he or she can help you find properties that more comfortably fit your personal spending limit.

Viewing homes is the first major step in finding a property to call your own. Following the above do's and don'ts can help your hunt prove more successful. is an educational website that seeks to assist first-time buyers.

Find Your New Home

Thank You Bill Riley for helping my baby girl with her first home! You're awesome!

Colleen Wooley

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