any of us would love a snazzy new sports car but a practical, inexpensive compact would suffice. The same logic applies to house shopping. The idea of moving into a large luxurious home in a top neighborhood is appealing, but can you really afford it?
To identify and organize your housing priorities, create a list of the essential criteria. To see the pluses and minuses on paper, and prioritizing them, helps the evaluation and decision process.
The top priority should be location. A house in a good location will, most likely, always retain its value. There are many location issues, such as commute, school district (even if you don't have children), shopping, services, public amenities, house of worship, and what you'll live near (like a dump site). Consider all of the factors before you make a decision.
The next priority should be size. If you're single, you may want a second bedroom, but you typically won't need four. On the other hand, if you have three children, you need more bedrooms, bathrooms and possibly a bigger kitchen and a family room.Amenities shouldn't be at the top of your list, but they should factor into the equation. For example, if you develop your photographs, find a home with a walk-in closet, extra bedroom or basement so you can set up a darkroom. But make sure you have basic amenities that may be important to future buyers, like parking.
The condition of the home is important, too. Do you want to fix up or customize a house? Or is it to serve merely as a dwelling?
Finally, before you start hunting, get yourself pre-approved for a loan so you know exactly how much you can spend.
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