What do you Need? What do you Want?
To find a house is more than simply choosing a place to rest your head.
The location impacts virtually every aspect of your life, from your commute to grocery shopping to leisure time. A home’s layout can promote or hinder your lifestyle, and largemonthly mortgage payments can seriously dent your budget.
Before jumping into a home purchase, carefully consider whether you can find a house to fit the way you live.
Your Commute: Getting Around
Is your potential new home well suited to getting where you need to go?
Will you face frustrating gridlock on your morning commute? Do the rush-hour drive to check whether traffic flows smoothly. Daily two-hour traffic snarls—maybe even each way—can ruin your mood and your schedule.
Will winter ice or spring storms make the roads hard to navigate? Research the city or township’s record of road maintenance. In snowy regions, a street that never sees a snowplow can severely impede your ease of movement. Streets riddled with potholes are inconvenient and dangerous.
Accessing the Essentials
Everyone needs groceries and household items. Explore the local shopping areas. If the closest grocery store takes more than half an hour to reach, how will that fit into your lifestyle? Are you prepared for two-hour grocery runs? Or will you accept the higher prices and limited choices of nearby convenience stores?
On the other hand, you might decide that a quiet, remote location is worth the trade-off of easy access to goods. And perhaps a favorite restaurant or grocery store close by delivers.
Leaving Room for Fun
Both your home’s location and its setup will affect how you spend your time off. Do you enjoy the nightlife? If so, consider the house’s distance from the local hotspots. Is it a distance you’re comfortable with? Or will you need to scale back your social life?
For an avid hobbyist, you’ll want to make sure your new home has room for what makes you happy. If you’re a passionate home chef, a tiny galley kitchen may quickly frustrate you. If you are a fitness fanatic, make sure there’s room for your home-gym equipment.
Find a House for Your Lifestyle
You know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Yet it’s easy to become wowed by extras and lose sight of the essentials.
If you mean to buy a “forever” home, that dramatic sweeping staircase can put stress on aging knees. That alluringly vast lawn will consume your free time. A finished basement rec room won’t do for young children who demand more parental supervision.
Take a minute to carefully consider the home’s structure and layout to determine whether the space matches your lifestyle.
Budgeting for Your Home and Your Life
Even after the bank has cleared you for a mortgage, consider those monthly payments. How deeply will they impact your quality of life?
Some people are content to live frugally, enjoying the comfort of home ownership. Others feel edgy when they don’t have cash on hand, whether that’s the freedom for a little guilt-free shopping or a larger savings safety net.
So before you sign that contract, take some time to really consider whether the home fits all of your needs and wants. Your future self will thank you.