If you’re thinking about buying a home, the first thing you should do is focus on exactly what you're looking for. Start by establishing your priorities in these three areas:
- Location: How will the location of schools, shops and transportation affect your choice of neighborhoods?
- Personal tastes: How large a home do you need? What style of architecture do you prefer? On what kind of lot?
- Budget: How much home is wise for you to own?
There is also the question of whether or not to buy a new home. New homes tend to have more spacious living and family rooms, and they’re generally easier to maintain. However, many homes built years ago offer more total space for the money and larger yards. Taxes may also be lower.
Many people are charmed by the character of an older home, but deterred by potential maintenance costs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Home Protection Plan gives you a safety net for unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.
If you’re thinking of buying a new construction home, there are other matters to take into account.
Resources & tools
While you’re thinking everything through, do a little research by conducting a property search and reviewing our neighborhood info. Use the mortgage calculator at the bottom of this page or contact our mortgage experts to get an idea of what your costs will be.
Once you have a sense of what you want in a home, contact one of our friendly agents to help you find neighborhoods and properties that appeal to you. Provide as many details as possible about what you have in mind. This will help them determine which properties you should see. With our experts at your side, you can rest assured you will find the right one.
On the road: looking at homes
When you go out to look at homes, we suggest bringing the following items along:
- Notebook and pen for note-taking
- Flashlight for seeing enclosed areas
- Tape measure for checking room sizes, clearance, etc.
- Camera to help you remember details about the home
Your real estate agent will likely provide detailed information about each home you see. That said, don’t be afraid to snoop around a little. You will want to find out as much as possible. Sellers understand that because their home is on the market, it will be looked over pretty thoroughly.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have – about specific rooms, features or functions. Pay particular attention to areas that could become problematic, such as additions, defects and areas that have been repaired. As a potential buyer, you have the right to know.
If you want to go back to a home for another look, your agent will be happy to schedule an appointment.
8 questions to ask when looking at a home
People buy homes for many reasons: to be closer to their jobs, get extra space for a growing family, downsize, or other lifestyle changes. With your own reasons in mind, consider the following questions:
- Is there enough room for you now and in the near future?
- Is the home's floor plan right for your family?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Will you have to replace the appliances?
- Is the yard the right size for you?
- Are there enough bathrooms?
- How much maintenance or upgrading will you need to do right away or later?
- Will your furniture work in this home?
Finding the right home for you
There is no set number of homes you should look at before you decide to make an offer on one. The perfect home may be waiting for you on your first visit. If it isn't, the house-hunting process will help you get a feel for the homes in the community and create your “short list.”
If you're looking in more than one community, try to make the most of each house-hunting trip. Stop by the local chamber of commerce to pick up promotional literature. You can also ask your agent for welcome kits, maps and information about schools, churches and recreational facilities.
The mortgage calculator below will help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment. Simply enter the price of the home, your down payment and loan details to calculate your monthly payment.