10 Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Home
Shopping for a new family home is an exciting yet significant decision that involves careful consideration of various factors. From the property’s condition to its location and amenities, there are many things to consider before purchasing. Here are some things you should consider before deciding which family home is right for your family.
1. Condition of the Roof
The condition of a home’s roof is a critical factor to assess when shopping for a new family home. A well-maintained roof protects from the elements and contributes to the home’s energy efficiency. A good quality roof will help to keep energy costs down and deliver peace of mind, delaying the need for a roof replacement.
A family home is a significant investment that may not leave much money in your bank account for roof repair or replacement. Before finalizing a home purchase, it’s advisable to have a professional roofing company inspect the roof. Roofing companies, such as local roofers can provide in-depth information about the roof. The condition of the roofing materials should be evaluated for signs of wear, damage, or aging.
The roof inspection should be able to approximate the age of the roof and the expected lifespan of the roofing materials. If the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, it may require replacement soon. Ask the roof inspector about maintenance, repair, and replacement costs. It is imperative that you have the roof evaluated before you make a buying decision.
2. Age of the HVAC
Another costly system in any family home is the HVAC system. Like the roof, the HVAC system is an essential system in any home. The age and condition of the home’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system are crucial for ensuring year-round comfort and energy efficiency. A reliable system is a must.
Ask for maintenance and repair records for the HVAC system to assess how well it has been cared for. Regular servicing can prolong the system’s lifespan and efficiency. Ask the seller about the energy efficiency ratings of the HVAC system. Modern systems are often more energy-efficient, leading to lower utility bills. Ask if any recent upgrades or repairs have been made to the HVAC system. Replacing components like the air handler or condenser unit can improve efficiency.
Turn to an HVAC professional to inspect the system. Air conditioning companies will be able to determine the age of the HVAC system, including the furnace, air conditioner, and any other components. On average, HVAC systems have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. An older system may require more frequent repairs and be less energy efficient. Don’t buy a family home without learning more about the HVAC system. You’ll also want to know if you’ll need to find a heating oil business if the HVAC system uses oil.
3. The Ideal Yard
A great family home will have a great yard to gather in and for the kids to play in. A home’s yard and outdoor space are significant factors for many buyers. The ideal yard can enhance your quality of life. Here are a few things to consider what makes an ideal yard:
- Size and layout- Does the size of the yard meet your family’s needs? Is there room for entertainment, relaxation, and designated space for the kids to play in? Is there space for a garden or other factors you want to incorporate?
- Landscaping– Is the current landscaping mature? Is it aesthetically pleasing? How much maintenance will you need to provide to keep up with the current landscaping?
- Privacy and security-Is- Is there a fence? If there is not a fence how much will it cost to have one installed?
The ideal yard is a big selling point for most buyers. Of course, deciding if the yard is the right yard for your family is a personal decision based on your family’s needs and wants. Many buyers will use a lanscape design company to customize a yard after purchase. Evaluating all the factors of the outdoor spaces is an important part of making an informed decision about your home purchase. Remember that a well-kept yard speaks volumes about a homeowner’s commitment to caring for the property.
4. Condition of Siding
House siding is important in home energy efficiency, protection, and keeping out pests. The condition of the home’s siding is an aesthetic consideration and an essential component of the home’s structure. The type of siding material used on the home, such as vinyl, wood, brick, stucco, or fiber cement, has varying levels of durability and maintenance requirements.
For example, wood siding must be painted periodically, while vinyl siding requires almost zero maintenance. When you are evaluating the siding of a potential family home, consider how much maintenance you want to put into keeping the siding in good shape. If you are not fond of investing in exterior paint or want to keep maintenance to a minimum, it is essential that you evaluate the siding material.
Visually inspect the siding for any obvious damage. Ask about any recent repairs or replacement of siding sections. If there have been repairs, find out why and whether the issues have been fully addressed. Check for proper waterproofing and sealing around the siding’s windows, doors, and seams. Water intrusion can lead to hidden structural damage and mold issues.
5. Condition of Foundation
Foundation problems can be expensive problems. It’s essential that you evaluate the foundation. Conduct a visual inspection of the foundation both inside and outside the home. Look for cracks, signs of settling, or bowing walls. These can indicate foundation problems.
Determine the type of foundation used in the home, whether it’s a concrete slab, crawl space, or basement. Different foundation types have different maintenance requirements. Ask about any past foundation repairs or upgrades. If repairs have been made, find out the extent of the problems, whether the repairs were done by professionals, and if they were able to address all the issues permanently.
Consider hiring a professional foundation repair service to conduct a thorough inspection if you have any concerns about the foundation’s condition. They can provide expert guidance on any necessary repairs. They can also tell you if the foundation is safe and in good condition. It’s important to know the condition of the foundation.
6. Location Proximity
Real estate is all about the location, location, location. You must consider the proximity of the family home you are considering to amenities like shopping, dining, and a good private preschool. Of course, those are not the only considerations. You want to choose a family home that is in a safe neighborhood.
You also need to consider your commute time to work. Is the potential family home located a reasonable distance from your job? You don’t want to spend hours each day commuting to work. Determine the proximity of grocery stores, shopping centers, and essential retail outlets. Convenience in accessing everyday necessities can enhance your daily life.
Walk or drive around the neighborhood to become familiar with the area and to gauge the proximity of healthcare facilities, parks, recreational areas, gyms, and sports facilities. It is hard to beat the right location when it comes to choosing a family home. Get familiar with the area to ensure that the home is in an area that will bring your family joy.
7. Size and Layout
Many buyers prioritize the home’s size and layout. A home that is the right size (perhaps with a little room to grow into) is essential for any buyer. There should be enough bedrooms to support your family’s needs. Layout is another important consideration. Many older homes don’t have a layout that supports the needs of today’s families.
However, layout is usually not a deal breaker because you can always make changes. The size of the home can be a deal breaker. When you are evaluating a potential family home, consider the size of the home and whether it will fit your family’s needs.
It is important that you have enough bedrooms to ensure everyone is comfortable, but that is not the only size consideration. The size of the kitchen is typically important to home buyers, as is the size of the living space. Open floor plans are very popular because they offer more elbow room. When you are considering the size of the home, consider future needs.
8. Safety and Security
Security and safety are also a consideration. Is the home outfitted with a fire protection and security system? At a minimum, there should be smoke detectors installed. A family home with a security and fire protection system installed means that you will not have to invest in this equipment after the purchase.
Check for security and fire protection systems. Ask the seller about when they were installed and if they are monitored. If you have small children, you want to ensure that the home’s layout supports childproofing. Consider the layout and features of the home for childproofing potential.
Is there a fence in the backyard? Check out the outdoor spaces for security features and the potential to make changes if necessary. Ask the seller if they have ever had a break-in and what they did to rectify the problem if they did. It is important you gather as much security and safety information about the house as possible. You don’t want to purchase a family home that poses safety and security risks.
It is important that you collect information about the homeowner’s association if there is one. HOAs can have a bevy of rules that can be hard to live with. Ask the seller if there is a homeowner’s association; if there is one, ask about fees. The HOA dues can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, and the rules can differ.
Buying a family home with high HOA fees can up the cost of living in the home significantly. Additionally, purchasing a family home in a neighborhood with restrictive HOA rules can make life miserable for you and your family. Ask the seller if they can share the HOA bylaws with you and read through them.
It’s important that you go into the sale with your eyes wide open, including understanding the homeowner’s obligation to an HOA. Getting familiar with the HOA can help you decide if this is the family home that fits your lifestyle. HOA considerations are not something you should overlook.
10. Operating Costs
It’s important that you have a ballpark figure at least of how much it costs to live in the home. All of the things that we have discussed up to this point should give you some data to use to figure out the operating costs of the home. For example, if there is a new HVAC system and roof those are big points towards making the home more affordable to operate.
If the home you are considering has old windows and doors that can point to higher energy bills. What type of heating does the home use? Is it fossil fuel, natural gas, or electricity? That information is necessary to better understand the month-to-month operating costs. Ask about the property tax.
There are a lot of little things that you should consider because it will play a role in how affordable the home is to operate. Are the appliances energy efficient? How old is the water heater? What type of insulation does the home have? It may seem a bit overwhelming to discuss all this information with the buyer, but it is necessary information and it will help you to make an informed decision.
Don’t make the mistake of buying a family home based on emotion only. You and your family may fall in love with a home, but it is important that you consider all the things that are listed here to ensure you are making a good investment. Buying a family home is a big decision, one that deserves all the attention you can give it. Learn more about making the right buying decision for your family.