House Hunting

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I’ve always planned to one day own my own home. I guess that’s just because my family did, and it seems like it’s the smart thing to do financially speaking (it is–right?). But the older I get, the more I think of home ownership as daunting and frightening. I’m graduating and entering the working world soon, but when I look at when I expect to make and what houses can cost, it freaks me out! And there just seem to be so many variables that can make homes get less valuable or become super costly to maintain.


If and when I do reach a point at which I feel like I can buy a house, how can I make sure that I choose a property that won’t end up being a money-sink? How do home buyers find good values and invest in reliable properties?


Buying a home has long been considered an important financial milestone for Americans. And there are good financial reasons to consider home ownership over renting. The conventional wisdom goes like this: people can usually expect to be paying monthly bills for their housing. But, for homeowners, monthly mortgage payments don’t just cover a month of housing–homeowners are paying off a debt that will eventually leave them in sole possession of a valuable asset. That’s not true of rent, of course, which is simply spent and then never seen again.


But that doesn’t mean that home ownership is always a risk-free, profitable enterprise. There are plenty of reasons to be careful when deciding whether or not to purchase a property. A poor real estate market could leave a homeowner paying off a too-high debt for a property that is worth too little. Maintenance and repair concerns that renters are free to ignore can be costly and frustrating for homeowners. While home ownership is quite often the best financial move, it is a move that must be made with great care.


Which brings us to the question at hand: how can you pick out a home that will reward you personally and financially?


For starters, you should house-hunt with your life in mind, not with possible profits. Real estate is an investment, but it’s a very different sort of investment for mega-moguls than it is for individuals and families who are buying their home. It is absolutely possible for your home to grow in value significantly during the time that you own it, but experts caution that homeowners may be wiser to view their homes more as “assets” than “investments”–a distinction that, in this context, means emphasizing long-term, usable value over the idea of being able to cash out later on. The logic here is that there are other more practical ways to grow wealth as a small investor than in large real estate purchases. Buying a home is a way to avoid doing something that is potentially financially wasteful (paying rent), but it is not necessarily similar to “investing” in the sense that we might think of it.

So you’ll be hunting for a home that will retain its value and continue to provide you with a safe and comfortable home environment for many years to come. You’re looking for stability, not growth, and you’ll want to target real estate that fits your needs and will continue to do so for a long time. What does a property like that look like?


As real estate agents love to say, it starts with “location, location, location.” The value of a home is very much tied up in its proximity to things like places of work, recreational areas, and good schools. If you’re planning to raise a family, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the educational opportunities in your area. Look at both public and private school options, recommend the experts at a private Catholic high school in Holmdel, NJ. And don’t forget about things like libraries, summer camps, and kid-friendly organizations.


Of course, the property itself matters, too. Solid construction and elegant design will go a long way toward determining the value of a property, say the pros at a full-service home design service in Morristown, NJ. The layout and architecture of the home itself will determine, to a large extent, how comfortable and functional it is.


And the physical construction of the house will have a lot to do with how well it holds up over the years–which can have significant financial implications for you as a homeowner. Long-term maintenance and repair costs will absolutely be affected by construction decisions and proper execution by the builders, explains a trusted home builder in Telford, PA.


Of course, even a home that is built perfectly will require regular maintenance and care. That’s an expense that you should consider obligatory, just like your mortgage payments. You should never put off necessary repairs or skimp on maintenance and inspections, because problems with a property are likely to end up costing you a great deal more if you do so. And problems with your home can have ripple effects that cost you money in unexpected ways, Ptoo, say the pros behind a window and door installation service in East Hanover, NJ. For instance, problems with your insulation, windows, and doors, can send your heating and air conditioning bills through the roof as your climate-controlled air leaks right out of your home!


There are certainly a lot of factors to bear in mind as you hunt for your dream home, but try not to worry too much! You’ll have plenty of support and resources to draw on when you reach this point in your journey. Home inspections and other precautionary measures will help you avoid being taken in by a high-risk property, and you’ll be able to do further research online and in print when the time to go house-hunting arrives for you. What you need to know now is that there are factors to consider when buying a home that will help ensure that you end up with a valuable asset that rewards your decision to buy a home. For now, focus on saving money and developing good financial habits!


“Peace, like charity, begins at home.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt