When you buy a house, it's easy to get caught up in the quick real estate market and focus on just the house and structure, which might leave other important factors overlooked. But houses don't exist in vacuums, they're part of the surrounding landscape, street, and neighbourhood.
To ensure that you don't overlook anything important, and to give you an idea of what else might factor into your home purchase, here are 5 important things outside the house to assess when buying a home:
It’s pretty common for people to talk about location when purchasing a home, especially friends and relatives that have already purchased. Odds are, they have a list of things they wish they had thought about beforehand, or at least some obstacles they’ve had to overcome. Location is at the top of the list and here’s why: you can make changes to the house but you can’t change the location. Short of selling your home, you’re stuck with it.
It’s important you consider your daily commute and the proximity to work, family and friends, and your access to emergency medical care. You’ll want to make sure that the area is considered safe, and learn more about the property value of the area so you can protect your investment. The more information you have, the more you can make an education and informed decision.
You might have just assumed that all neighborhoods have sidewalks; wrong! You don’t want to underestimate how challenging it can be without them. Whether you’re getting exercise, walking your dog, or wanting a place for your children to play, they’ll need a sidewalk to do it. You also need to consider where people walking through the neighbourhood will be placing their feet, will it be all over your front yard? You’re not likely to meet a person who actually enjoys living without sidewalks.
Depending on the area of town you live in and your budget, it’s possible your home may not have a private garage. You’ll find on-street parking and driveways to be most common. If you have a driveway, consider how many cars it will fit and what will happen if you have guests over. When considering on-street parking for your home, drive-by in the evening hours and on weekends. This will allow you to see if the area is too congested and whether there is enough parking for everyone.
When buying a home, it’s not uncommon to have to make compromises, but should parking be one of them? You might prefer to have easy access for carrying in groceries and peace of mind when coming home after dark. Will you be comfortable parking a block or two down the road and not being able to see your car?
Overlooking the neighbours has the potential to be the single biggest mistake you can make when purchasing a home. Unless you’re buying in a neighborhood that is predominately rental properties, you’ll be stuck with those neighbors for a long time. More importantly, they can affect your ability to sell your home in the future. You’ll want to look and see how they upkeep their property, and drive by on the weekend and in the evenings to get a sense of their lifestyle. Are a lot of cars parked there or is there music playing until the wee hours of the morning? All of these things can not only spill over into your personal life, but can also affect property value.
Nearby Schools, Stores and Amenities
If you have children or plan to have children, check out which school zone you're in, and how far it is to reach them. Can your children walk to school safely, or will you need to drive them every day? Also consider how close the nearest convenience store is. Everyone has had to run out quickly to pick up milk or other necessities at some point, is this something you can quickly walk to, or will even the quickest trip require transportation?
If you take the time to understand your lifestyle and preferences, you can make decisions based on how you want to experience life. Some people prefer rural living and feel most comfortable away from the city’s hustle and bustle but others will prefer easy access to stores and amenities. There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, it’s more about considering all your options and making the best decision for you and your family.
Buying a home is an important decision and one you don’t want to rush or take lightly. There is much more to consider than just how many bedrooms and bathrooms a house has. People have different preferences and different priorities and it’s about finding a home that fits your lifestyle, your budget and your needs.
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