CHOOSING BETWEEN TWO HOUSES

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make, so there is a lot to consider when trying to choose between two houses. Once you determine that both houses are within your budget and meet your family’s needs, take the following steps to help you make your decision.
  • Create a “Pros and Cons” list. Do this right away. Start jotting down everything you can think of about each home and its surrounding areas. Consider the size of the rooms you will use most often. If you entertain a lot, will one home have a bigger dining area than the other? If you use the family room a lot, is one bigger than the other? Does one have a better yard? Do you want a big yard? Ask yourself all the questions you can think of and start comparing all the features of each home.
  • Compare neighborhoods. Sometimes the homes might be in the same neighborhood, but if not, evaluate the individual neighborhoods. Are there nearby parks? Are the other homes well maintained? Are the streets maintained?
  • Consider commute time. Will you save on gas prices if you choose one house over the other? If you like to ride your bike, is there one home that will accommodate a bicycle commute better?
  • Research appreciation. If the two homes you’re choosing between are in different areas, have your real estate agent retrieve sales of homes in those areas for the past few years. If one neighborhood sees an annual percentage increase that is much higher than the other, it’s likely your home will also appreciate at a higher rate.
  • Visit each home at least twice. Sometimes you might notice something about a house the second or third time you visit that you didn’t notice the first. Do your own inspection of each home and take detailed notes. If one home requires more maintenance than the other, that might help you make your decision.
  • Look into HOA fees. Does one home have an HOA and the other doesn’t? How much will the HOA fees be? Will they be raised? Do you like HOA guidelines or would you rather not have restrictions?
  • Research the surrounding schools. If you have school-aged children, then look into the reputation of the schools your child may attend. Most public school district information and standardized test results can be found online. You may even want to visit the school and talk to the teachers and other parents.
  • Ask about crime. Visit the local police department and ask about the crime rate in the prospective neighborhood. Talk to your potential neighbors and ask them about any signs of burglary, drugs, or vandalism.
Your real estate agent can give you their objective professional opinion about each property, but don’t ask them to make the decision for you or to pick one house over the other. This is ultimately your decision, so take the proper steps to carefully consider which house will be best for you.
 

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