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Avoiding Disaster: What to ask yourself before you buy

You’re pumped, pre-approved, and ready to purchase, but before you pull that trigger, make sure you’re making the right choice. Emotions tend to run high when making a high-value purchase and once you put down your earnest money, you better be sure you’re making the right choice. While there’s no definitive way to be absolutely certain that the property you’re looking at is going to a good investment and a solid choice, there are some things you should definitely consider before signing.
 
Can you afford it?
While a fairly obvious question, there’s a reason this one makes it to the top of the list. If you are stretching, really stretching, to the limits of your budget, you may want to reconsider making an offer. While many people love to have the nicest home they can afford, you also need to keep in mind that anything can happen at any time and if you’re maxed out you may cause yourself undue stress in the future. If your appliances break or you have an unforeseen loss of income, how are you going to handle it? Picking something that fits comfortably in your budget can reduce your mental and financial stress while allowing extra room in your budget for improvements to your home.
 
What’s your least favorite part about the property?
When debating on a purchase, we tend to ask ourselves about the best parts or features, but excitement often causes us to gloss over the ugly parts. Nothing is perfect, everything has at least a little downside and it’s important to consider that because it’s going to be apparent as soon as the shiny excitement of a new property wears off. If your least favorite part are the magenta colored shutters and awful interior paint colors, you probably are making the right choice in making an offer, but if you hate that the bedrooms are on the second floor, well there’s no changing that so you probably should walk away.
 
How is the location in relation to your important areas?
The old “location, location, location” mantra holds true here. In most cases, you can’t change the location of a property so you better like where it sits. While you may think that life in the country is “quaint” and “cozy” when you’re home shopping, you may find that you really don’t like driving 20 minutes to get a gallon of milk. Likewise you may find that locating closer to your job means that you’ll have a shorter commute, but it will take you longer to pick up your kids from school. Or maybe you’ll stop going to the gym because it’s no longer on your way home. Your habits and preferred locations may change, of course, but it’s good to think about how your life and routines will change before you take the plunge.
 
Are you okay with the proximity (or lack thereof) to neighbors?
Depending on where you’re looking for a property, the proximity to neighbors can make or break your choice. While you may fall head over heels for a charming Victorian home in the center of town, are you going to be okay with the fact that you can almost touch the neighbor’s home from your window? If you’re accustomed to apartment living, are you going to be nervous that there isn’t a soul around for miles when you move out in the country? Many times when choosing a new property this issue is romanticized (Think of our big yard! Think of all the kids in the neighborhood to play with!), but these very different locations have flipsides that you need to consider.
 
Pick your position wisely
Where a home sits on the street is often not at the top of the list (or even on the list) of considerations, but it should be! Corner lots tend to be bigger, but in a city or suburb setting they also mean more sidewalk maintenance (like shoveling) or more to be repaired in the event of damage. Corner lots tend to also mean people will cut through your yard — not great if intricate landscaping is your thing– and fences often have to be low or see-through as to not affect traffic sight lines.
 
Attached or Detached – It makes a difference
In some places, a garage is a garage is a carport (looking at you, southern states!), but when it comes to garage placement, it can make all the difference. How you’re planning to use your garage and the climate you live in will change how you think about garages. If you live in a cold weather state and are accustomed to being able to enter your home via the garage, having detached garage may mean extra time to bundle up the kids before getting in the car. If you’re wanting a “man cave” to call your own, detached might be the way to go. Again, it’s all a matter of preference, but it’s important to know to ask yourself these questions.
 
Have you ever fallen for the wrong property? Is there something you wished you thought of before purchasing your home? Let us know in the comments below or find your next property by checking the latest properties on RealtyHive by clicking here.

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