You crunched the numbers, determined your ‘must-haves’ and even bought some of those big mountable letters for the kitchen that spell ‘EAT’ — yup, you’re ready to buy a home. It’s an exciting time, but with so many considerations to be made it can also be overwhelming; there’s a lot to consider when touring homes. Take a deep breath, friend — Offerpad is here to help!
Check out a list of some important considerations you’ll want to make during your next tour…
1. Where is the home located?
Location is everything when it comes to real estate. Although working with Offerpad can quickly help you relocate, the home you purchase is the place you’re putting down roots for the foreseeable future — make sure it’s in the right location. What goes into a ‘good’ location? Investopedia lists the following criteria:
- Centrality — How close you are to the hot spots in the city
- Neighborhood — The look and feel of the neighboring homes
- Development — Future plans for commercial development/infrastructure around the property
- Lot location — How desirable the lot location is in (located in a cul de sac versus a busy road)
- Lot size — Lots generally maintain/increase in value over time; larger lots build you additional equity
The more boxes the property checks above generally drives up the demand for that area, driving up the price for that individual home. A ‘good’ location may not be the right fit when you factor in budget constraints — determine how much you’re willing to compromise in this area before you start shopping.
Of course, what makes a location desirable is oftentimes unique to your situation; for instance, think long and hard about how the location may affect your regular commute. According to Inc.com, even just adding 20 minutes to your commute has the same negative effect on job satisfaction as receiving a 19% pay cut.
The rule of thumb: the more desirable the location, the higher the home’s asking price — be prepared to compromise on location but not at the expense of your own happiness.”
2. Is the home layout right for you?
Think of the layout in terms of how well the home is designed to complement your lifestyle — certain styles are a better fit for your unique circumstances. Planning to start a family or already have kids? Anticipate you’ll be entertaining guests on a regular basis? Looking for a quiet place to work from home? Some layouts are better suited toward your lifestyle — make sure you consider your current situation and any plans you have for the future.
Pay special attention to room sizes when looking at potential homes. That spare bedroom may be the perfect size for your toddler now but give it a few years and she may require more space for her ‘art projects’. A good home layout gives you what you need with a little bit of flexibility for growth as your lifestyle changes.
Visit wikiHow for more help on choosing a home layout.
3. How does the kitchen feel?
There’s a lot of important spaces in a home, but for many, the kitchen is basically the heart — this is the space that gives your home identity and character. So how does the kitchen function for you in its current state? Do you see yourself cooking Thanksgiving dinners here? Is there enough room for you to bake cupcakes with the kids?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans spend 37 minutes a day in the kitchen — make sure it’s a place you want to be.
4. How’s the plumbing/electrical?
Some of the more costly areas for home repair falls under plumbing or electrical — get a good sense of how old these systems are before you commit to buying a new home.
Check the bathrooms and see what sort of amenities are currently in place; if you’re moving in with your spouse or partner, you may want to ensure the master bathroom includes things like a double vanity and sink. You may want these amenities in place if you don’t have the stomach for a big renovation project.
Be sure to ask a lot of questions about the home’s electrical. If the home has air conditioning, how old is the system? If you have a phone charger with you, check the outlets throughout the home — do they all work? Take time to investigate the light switches — what do they control and do they all work? Does everything seem to be in working order? Make a note of anything you’re not sure about. A little bit of investigating can save yourself (and your bank account) some future heartache.
5. How much storage space does it offer?
One of the less appreciated aspects of owning your own home: there’s plenty of space for all your stuff — at least, there should be assuming you didn’t overlook the importance of storage space while shopping for a home.
When touring homes, consider things like garage space and closet space in bedrooms. Is there enough room to store your treasure trove of Christmas lights? Is there enough space for your sneaker collection? Yards that have enough space for sheds can only be a major bonus.
6. How big is the yard space?
Although there are not many greater joys in life, homeownership is a lot of work — the front and backyards are no exception. Make sure you’re not biting off more than you can (or you’re willing) to chew in this department. Even if you’re not performing the maintenance yourself, the cost of routine landscaping can take a chunk out of your budget.
Keep in mind, it’s relatively inexpensive to renovate your backyard — unlike the home’s interior layout, you have a lot of wiggle room. You don’t necessarily need to shy away from a big yard — you can ultimately convert the space into something more low maintenance down the road.
Self-tour with Offerpad’s Instant Access
We make it easy to find your next home with Instant Access. You can visit hundreds of different Offerpad homes in your area between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm (local time) — Monday through Sunday.
Your safety is important to us when self-touring! Always use common sense and avoid touring a property alone whenever possible. We recommend you research the surrounding area and neighborhood ahead of your visit, keep your cell phone handy, and make sure to secure parking in a well-lit spot. For more safety tips, please check out our post on Safety Tips for Self-Touring Homes.
Ready to schedule a self-tour? Just download our app and follow the easy instructions to get started!