How to Choose the Right Home

For first-time buyers and repeat buyers alike, the decision to make an offer on a home is both exciting and a little scary. If your offer is accepted, the place you’ve chosen will be your home for the next several years. Not only should you feel emotionally satisfied by your choice, but you should also feel financially comfortable that you’re buying a home that you can afford and that you feel confident will hold onto its value or hopefully increase in value over the years.

While no one can know for sure what will happen to housing values, if you make the choice to buy a home that meets your needs and priorities you’ll be happy to live in it for years to come.

Neighborhood or Home Amenities

For some homebuyers, living in a particular neighborhood takes precedence over all other priorities, but for others, the home itself matters more. Ideally, you’ll find the perfect home in the neighborhood you love at a price that’s below your budget, but realistically, most people have to make some compromises.

You (and your spouse, partner or family) should make a list of what features you want in a home, such as the number of bedrooms, a fenced yard, granite counters in the kitchen, and then rank them in terms of priorities. Think about whether the house or the community matter more to you, and whether it’s worth it to you to make a longer commute in order to live in a home with a larger lot.

When to Compromise

Once you’ve determined whether the location or the house itself matters most, you may have to compromise on some of your priorities. If the location is the most important factor for your home choice but you find that homes are priced above your budget, you can compromise in several ways:

  • Look for a different home type within the community, such as a smaller single family home, a town home or condominium. Decide if you can live with one less bedroom or other features on your list.
  • Consult with a lender or a financial planner to discuss your options for increasing your budget. While no one should overspend on a home, you should recognize that going $10,000 above your price range when you’re financing your purchase with a 30-year fixed-rate loan will actually add only about $30 to your monthly payment.
  • Lower your expectations about the condition of the home. While everyone prefers a move-in ready home, you can often get a better deal on a home that needs some cosmetic repairs. Be careful, though, to have a home inspection and to evaluate the structure of the home to see that it meets your needs. Moving walls and adding a bathroom are costly renovations, while painting and replacing appliances are more reasonable.

If you have your heart set on a specific home style or a home with a larger yard for your children or to garden, your compromise is more likely to be in the location. If you’re willing to commute farther or perhaps choose a home in a community next to the ‘hot’ neighborhood, you can often find a more affordable home that fulfills your wish list.

An experienced Realtor can help you determine when and how to compromise and should take the time to show you a variety of alternatives so you can make an informed decision about when to make an offer.

22 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Home

  1. Jasper Whiteside

    I think that an important step in compromise is prioritizing. The article gives the example that location would be what matters most. It would be easy to decide what you are willing to compromise on if you’ve prioritized the bottom of your list and know what you are willing to give up.

    Reply
  2. Jen Pack

    My husband and I have decided that now is a great time in our personal situation, as well as our financial situation, to buy a single family home. However, we want to make sure that we’re picking the best one for us and our needs, so I really appreciate this information. I like the tip you give of making a list of features that we really want to see in a home before we start looking. This also includes what we want in the community and design of the house. I think we will have the best luck if we hire a real estate agent that knows the areas we are looking at and can negotiate for us.

    Reply
  3. Rachel Lannister

    My husband and I are looking for a home where we can raise our children. In your article it says that you should consider things like number of bedrooms, fenced yard, and what the kitchen is like. We already have a couple of dogs, so a fence is already a mandatory item on our list. I’ll be sure to tell my husband about these features we should consider.

    Reply
  4. Frank Delaware

    My friend is thinking about getting a home for his family, but he wasn’t sure how to choose the right one. I really like that you say to consider what is most important, then compromise. It would be nice to find something in a good location and then maybe get a smaller house.

    Reply
  5. Annika Larson

    Choosing a home is definitely a big decision, and it’s important to make the decision that will benefit your family. I am currently trying to find a home for my little family, and it’s hard to find something that fits for location and budget. Your suggestion to look at different home types, such as a single family home, is very helpful. We’ll have to do this. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  6. Tomas Killington

    My wife and I are in the market for a new home. There are a few traits we want in our new house, but we’re not sure what other things we should look for. I didn’t realize how important it is to find out what amenities are offered int he neighborhood to ensure you are close to all the things you like to do. I’ll be sure to remember this consideration moving forward.

    Reply
  7. Finley Moreira

    I like how you pointed out that possibility of needing to compromise on some of your priorities when finding a good home. I’ve read elsewhere that making a physical list of needs and wants is a great way to visualize what things you can compromise on. I tend to get picky, so this would be a good way to ensure I don’t pass up on a good home by being too picky about the amenities it offers.

    Reply
  8. Gloria Durst

    I agree that the neighborhood is really important when choosing a home. It would make sense to find somewhere that will be good for your family before you move. I’m looking for a new home, so I’ll have to consider the school district and neighborhood as well.

    Reply
  9. Sharon Wilson Smith

    I also agree that location is the most important factor for a home choice. My husband and I are planning to buy a house with an ideal location and good amenities. We’ve been thinking of the other things to consider when buying a house and this article helps a lot. Thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
  10. Julius Amberfield

    I have been meaning to buy a house for my family for a while now, but I have not actually started with the search yet because I do not know where to begin. It was good that I came across this article because I learned that in order to narrow down the search and pick the right house, it’s a good idea to write down the things that I would like the house to have and rank them according to their significance. I will surely give this a try considering that it seems writing my preference down is fairly easy yet helpful at the same time. I will have to think about what I want my future home to have the first though. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Tammy Houston

    I appreciate it when you suggested listing down the things that we would like our new home to have and rank them in accordance to what’s most and lest important to know when we should and should not compromise. That is a tip that I will surely write down as I am currently confused and wondering how I can find the perfect home for me. I wanted a single-family home, but that was the only thing that I have in mind. I am glad I came across this article. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Ellie Davis

    I like where you suggest looking for a different home type from the rest of the community. My husband and I are wanting to buy our first home. We want to find a real estate agent to help us get the best home for our budget.

    Reply
  13. Candice Eisenhower

    You made a good option in considering your preferred amenities as well as the type of environment you will be residing in choosing a home. It’s no joke to make a huge investment like buying a home and you have to be sure that everything in it is something that you really like to refrain from having regrets. My husband and I are looking to find a new place close to our sons’ school and we will take our options from there. Since we are no experts in the area, we will consider hiring a real estate agent to help us find a single family home with competitive pricing.

    Reply
  14. Millie Hue

    My favorite part of this article is when you talked about being aware of the community first before settling for the house in that location. Like you said, it is important to consider whether the community is more essential to your family than the duration of the commute when picking a home. It really helped because it will make a difference since my husband and I would really love to live in a place where people are close to each other. Especially my husband, he is such a people person, so he would really appreciate being close with his neighbors. Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Millie Hue

    I totally agree when you suggested listing down the features you want from a property, and I love that you mentioned that it should be ranked according to priorities. I will definitely do that to help me and my husband find the home that we would really love. We have been having difficulty in finalizing what we really wanted for our future house, and we never thought about writing it down. So thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  16. Millie Hue

    I love that you suggested listing down the things that we would want in a home and rank them according to the most needed feature. I think this will help us a lot in choosing the perfect house for our personality. Actually, this will be useful for me and my husband because we are total opposites. He is a very sporty guy, while I am a book nerd. So I can imagine that he will be prioritizing the yard while I would love to have a library.

    Reply

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