The choice of a home is more than just a financial decision. It’s a place where you’ll spend so many hours (a huge portion of your free time, even if you are an outdoor type of person). The aesthetics of the place affect your mindset, its location determines the convenience of your everyday commutes, and its energy efficiency drastically affects your budget. With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are a couple of tips to help you choose a home that best suits your lifestyle.
Consider the Location
The location of the place is one of the factors that will affect your lifestyle the most. For instance, you want to check the distances to your workplace, the gym, local parks, and even local schools.
Keep in mind, nonetheless that an average person changes 12 jobs in a lifetime. In other words, this is a variable that needs to be taken into consideration, and committing to a place that’s near your work (if that’s the property’s only redeeming quality) is never a smart move. Even though you might change your work, the next one might be in the vicinity, so research the local job market.
Now, when considering the location, there are several factors of good localization:
- The proximity to the community
- Land size
It’s incredibly important to assess all of these individually but keep in mind that different people will have different priorities. Therefore, it’s essential that you know what you’re looking for primarily and assign a value that you hold to be true to every one of these factors.
How Much Home Can You Actually Afford?
This may sound a bit strange, seeing as how we started out with the fact that buying a home is not just a financial decision. The thing is that buying a home makes so much difference in your day-to-day budget. A mortgage is a financial responsibility that you will take on for the next 15 to 30 years, and its monthly payments will affect your household budget quite significantly.
Therefore, there are two things you need to do. First, you need to check how much house you can actually afford. In general, there’s a rule that you shouldn’t spend more than 28% of your gross monthly income on home-related costs. There’s also a general rule that it shouldn’t exceed 36% of your total debt. This includes credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.
Second, you need to ensure that you get the best deal possible. This means doing your research, shopping around, or looking for the right mortgage brokers to assist you. This last method is particularly effective, seeing as how it puts industry veterans on the case, thus supplementing your lack of experience in the field.
Also, remember that just because you can afford something, this doesn’t mean that it’s good for your lifestyle. Some things look good on paper but cause household austerity that is far more severe than you can handle. Also, remember that you’re not the only one who will feel this austerity, so make sure to talk to the rest of your family, as well.
Plan For the Future
When choosing the size of the home, going with a smaller place means lower utilities, while going with a larger place means more comfort. However, there’s another dimension to consider here. You see, if you plan to expand your family in the future, you might want to invest in a larger place.
While a lot of people move for work, it’s important to understand that (as we’ve already mentioned) jobs aren’t forever. Technically, you can still sell a home under a mortgage, but you need to have enough equity to actually pay off your loan balance and cover closing costs. Since you’re moving to a new place, it would also be good if you have a profit. It’s also important that you check if there are any prepayment penalties present.
The way you calculate equity is really not that complex. It’s affected by:
- Your original down payment
- Al mortgage principal payments you’ve made
- The cost of upgrades and renovations you’ve made
- Value increase of the home (due to real estate shifts)
Just bear in mind all of this before buying a home in order to set yourself up for the future. Keep in mind that this is less of a general home-buying plan and more of a contingency plan.
Compare It Against Your Daily Routine
Another thing you need to think about is your daily routine. This is the way in which you’ll be able to incorporate your lifestyle requirements into the mix. Try to roleplay your day in the home that you’ve just visited.
You wake up in the morning in this bedroom, go to the bathroom, and start with your routine. Is the mirror in the right place (or set at the right height)? Then, you go to the kitchen to make breakfast (a specific thing that you’re the most likely to make often). Is the layout of the kitchen efficient, and most importantly, can you actually see yourself doing this in this particular kitchen? To complete the task, proceed with the rest of the daily habits. If you are a smoker, where would you smoke? If you like to host family gatherings and holidays, will the dining room be big enough to take everyone?
This is incredibly important; however, people have a tendency of overlooking it, seeing as how they’re too fixated on the price/location. This will affect you every day, so its significance cannot be overlooked.
Sure, there are priorities and issues that you just won’t budge on, but there’s also the non-essential category. For instance, is there a potential for this place to allow the growth of your hobbies and interests? While it is true that this is far from being essential, it’s worth paying attention to the home’s structure. Finding an emotional exhaust vent is essential for your mental health, regardless if it’s gardening, venting your rage on video games, or crying your eyes out on occasion.
Look for the Potential
The last thing you need to keep in mind is that the potential of the home matters, as well. For instance, the odds of your home having a reading nook are not that great, but if they have a great spot for one, this should be enough. The place doesn’t need to have a garden. As long as it has garden space, you can still make it work. And you can also add a swimming pool from affordable pool companies in Austin Tx.
The problem lies in the fact that you need to consider the cost of investment, as well. The fact that the place is in a nice location doesn’t mean much if you have to invest a fortune to make the conditions there livable. Also, having a pool and having a space where you can construct a pool are two completely different things.
Also, it’s important to mention that there are some home improvement projects that are not urgent. After all, you’ll live there for decades (if everything goes well), which means that you can choose to construct a gazebo in your backyard some 8 years down the line. However, if there’s an air draft in the house, this is an issue that needs to be resolved immediately (even before moving in).
What is more important when buying a new home, finances or lifestyle? This is as absurd as asking a driver what’s more important, to keep your eyes on the road, pay attention to the traffic signs, traffic lights, or other cars. Ironically, the answers to these two questions are identical – you need to pay attention to everything. Sure, it sounds daunting but finding your dream home was never supposed to be simple to begin with. Luckily, for those who make it through this, the end result is more than worth it.
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