8 Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Home

Hunting for your next home is an exciting opportunity to think through the vision you have for the perfect living space. Those who are already homeowners may have learned the hard way from past mistakes (and current renters may be poised to fall for a few tricks and traps), and there's truly no substitute for experience in the property market. However, shortening the learning curve and identifying some key features to look out for in your search can make all the difference when viewing homes on the market or even when thinking about building your own home with a construction team.

Investopedia notes that there are a considerable number of financial clues that home hunters should be looking for in a property. Everything from potential renovation requirements (as opposed to targeted upgrades made by choice) to location-based value plays a role in the financial decision-making process.

But finances aren't the entire picture. In addition to budgetary considerations, you also need to think about some of the physical aspects of your dream home and work to line these elements up with the structure of any property that you are viewing. There will always be some concessions that need to be made in any house-hunting expedition, but with these eight facets of the search in mind, you can make the process a little less murky.

Location (both local and regional)

Finding the perfect location is a central part of any home search. But location isn't a singular objective. There are many parts to the hunt for the perfect home placement. On a larger scale, you'll want to search for homes in a metropolitan or other regional area: For instance, the greater Tampa Bay area might provide the kind of lifestyle and workplace proximity that you need.

But a large radius like this is only good for starting your search. Once you've identified a city or area that serves your family's needs, you'll then want to zoom in on specific neighborhoods or communities that provide the day-to-day living and amenities that you require.

Finding the city that you plan to call home provides a fantastic feeling. But following this breakthrough up with more fine-tuned selection criteria like commute time, school zones, local parks, stadium proximity, and restaurants and other activities make for an objectively good location for you and your loved ones, as per Investopedia.

Space for growth

Space is a priority for any homebuyer, explains Property Reporter. In addition to a location that suits the needs of your family, you'll also need to take into consideration the spatial requirements as well as the potential for growth that will occur over the following years. For instance, a family of four will often be looking for a three or four-bedroom home (three to accommodate the children and four to add a guest room or home office). However, a young family may still have more room to grow whereas an older one may be done adding new personalities to the mix.

Children aren't the only factor when it comes to growth though. You may bring in-laws into the home for extended vacations every year or move a parent in permanently in the years to come. Considering your current needs as well as some of the more likely potential futures that might make demands on your home's space is the best way to find a property that will continue to serve your needs.

Budget considerations and mortgage pre-approval

Budgets are one of the most important facets of the home buying experience. Investopedia reports that home buyers should apply for mortgage pre-approval from their local financial institution rather than waiting until finding a property to start the financing process. Pre-approval will help you gain a better understanding of the monthly mortgage payments that you can afford alongside the figure a bank is willing to offer you. It can be difficult to calculate your overall ability to pay back a loan — arriving at an estimated monthly number that fits your budget. This is because homeownership is different than renting in many crucial ways.

Pre-approval helps speed up the closing process after you've made an offer on a home, and it can give you greater confidence in the decision because this step helps frame the budgetary requirements and restrictions that are often hard to pin down by a consumer alone.

Exterior amenities

The exterior space that a home offers can make or break the value that a home provides to you as an interested potential buyer. Many homeowners are seeking to make use of back patio space, home gardens, and even add or use pool amenities in their daily life. Outdoor living is surging in popularity these days (via Forbes). Spending time outdoors is great for your mood, as well as your overall mental and physical wellness, according to Time. As a result, it's a great idea to evaluate the value that the yard brings to your life alongside the interior amenities.

A small or otherwise cramped yard might not provide much in the way of relaxation and natural, outdoor living. Spending some time walking around the perimeter of the home can help you understand what the lawn brings to the table and where it may be lacking when it comes to providing your lifestyle with expanded opportunities for comfort, relaxation, and fun.

The bones of a home

Properties provide a comfortable living space for an individual, family, or any group of people in between. New homebuyers should remain on the lookout for the features of a home that lie beneath the surface, providing, in their silence, the makings of a comforting and durable home environment.

Architectural Digest notes that the bones of a home come in many forms, and one of these elements that is all too often forgotten about is the foundational structures that will continue to lend support to your ongoing lifestyle. The slab, basement, or pier and beam foundation is a great place to start when investigating the viability of any home. The foundation is the pillar upon which all the remaining components of the home rest, so a cracked or damaged foundation should be a huge red flag for anyone in the market for a new property. Likewise, chipped exterior paint around windows, issues with the roof, or sticking doors and windows can lead to expensive repair requirements down the road. You should never settle for a home that doesn't have the makings of a fantastic living space already unless you're getting a great deal and have complete remodel designs in mind.

The home's directional orientation

The way a home faces is another important feature that's left out of the considerations by many homebuyers. While location is crucial to a home's utility in your life, the orientation of the structure on its land can also play a major role in whether a home serves your needs or not. Architectural Digest suggests that a home built against a property boundary can make it unappealing by cutting down on available space (while being pressed up against a neighboring structure and property).

Likewise, Smarter Homes reports that many homeowners are opting for larger windows that allow for the entrance of increased natural light into the property. When facing west, an abundance of windows can overheat the air inside the home, making for an uncomfortable interior environment. The relationship between south and west-facing open spaces and their sizes is crucial to getting comfort and other related qualities right.

Electrical systems

The electrical wiring in a home is yet another essential indicator of the property's value to you as a prospective buyer. The electrical systems in any property are often installed and then forgotten about. Yet all kinds of issues can take away from the viability of the electrical circuitry of a home.

Likewise, many homeowners become complacent with outlets and the potential for improved functionality. As a result, looking at the electrical outlets can tell you a lot about the way that a property owner made use of their home before listing it. Sun Solar Electrical notes a plethora of outlet upgrades that a homeowner can bring into their home, with USB-enabled plugs as one of the primary additions to a home.

These changes can make for a more comfortable and even easier lifestyle in the home, so looking for enhancements here can make a big difference when house hunting. As well, it's important to think about the orientation of your furniture and electric appliances (like the television, for instance). If a room doesn't include sockets within reach of the space where you would install the TV, then you'll need to make alterations to the living space in order to use it the way that you might want.

Storage solutions

Storage is one of those elements of a home that you don't notice until you've run out of it. In truth, this is a modern feature of personal computers, phones, and all other systems in routine use today. But in the home, it can be incredibly frustrating to find a place to store your extra towels or sheets, the Christmas decorations, or your plates and bowls.

Storage is essential for reducing clutter in the home and maintaining the comfort and ease of movement that typifies a modern and luxurious living space. This Old House notes a number of great options for boosting your storage capacity in an existing living space. These are great for adding to your home, but when house hunting, it's always a good idea to think about where you might opt to store your belongings before pulling the trigger on an offer. Ultimately, storage will make for a comfortable life in your new home, and a home that lacks it can constrict your movement and happiness in meaningful and intense ways.