Whether you’re renting or buying, it’s important to know your own preferences before venturing into the market. By laying out your criteria, you can gain an early insight into how likely it is you’ll find the right place and how much you’ll be paying for it. Here are a few pointers to help decide.
When moving to a new property, there are few variables of greater importance than location. The location of a property directly informs its price, proximity to work, convenience and even lesser-considered factors such as air quality, safety and appreciation. To determine whether an area is right for you, it’s important to ask some key questions – what do I need close by? What can I live without? For some elderly residents, nearby amenities (such as hospitals or convenience stores) are crucial for a better quality of life. For students, often a thriving social scene is of more importance.
If you’re looking to buy and are unsure of whether the location is suitable, it can sometimes be worth renting first to determine whether you want to remain long-term. For example, in a city like Austin, for example, is home to many Fortune 500 companies and, by renting first, you may develop connections that would help validate a permanent move.
Depending upon your own personal preferences, the size, features, and composition of a home may have significance. Senior residents might be searching for something small, with easy accessibility. Family buyers will likely want more space and plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms. Outside of location, house composition is usually one of the most important influences on price. For this reason, it helps to know exactly what home features are most valuable to you and their relation with cost — to ascertain these, try to research into current trends and match them against listings.
Sometimes, it won’t be apparent to you what you value in a property until you see it. A good way to expose yourself to a range of house styles is to attend viewings — often our choices evolve over time and, by getting up close to the options, you can often learn more about your own tastes. If, due to COVID, you’re struggling to find showings, remember that there are plenty of realtors offering them virtually.
There are a number of factors that might inform your decision to buy a property – some people are fiscal-minded and see this as a process of investment, others feel sentimental and want somewhere with the ‘right feeling’ and some want a fixer-upper and the opportunity to create their own place from scratch. Even if you have no knowledge or interest in real estate, it’s important to learn the fundamentals of the housing market to better inform your decision as a house purchase is likely to affect you in the long term. By assessing your desired property against the grain of the market (whether its features and location will appreciate in value), you can make clearer decisions that benefit you in the long term.
If you’re renting, cost should always be a primary consideration — remember, the money you pay goes directly to a landlord and not into a mortgage. This means you will not financially benefit in the long-term from the money you spend renting. Ideally, you want to avoid extensive periods doing so — to help with this, you can use online calculators, which will more easily allow you to determine budgets and create a plan to move out as soon as possible.
When it comes to housing, it’s always an advantage to know yourself. By outlining what it is you can or can’t live without, you can get ahead of the game, estimate your financial limitations and ensure long-term contentment.
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