Buying a home is an important decision and often challenging for even an experienced home-buyer. The following home-buyer’s checklist is designed to assist you in organizing the process and managing your priorities. We recommend you start a file for the complete home-buying process and include this checklist as the first step.
Select an Agent
A good agent is your first and perhaps most valuable asset. Find out if they are:
Experienced in the area/location you seek
A member of the local Multiple Listing Service Realtor® status Representing: ____you ____the seller
Before you know what you want to buy, where you will live is a top priority. Consider carefully the following:
- Distance to job(s): How far are you willing to travel?
- Desired school district: Will this be important now or perhaps in your future?
- Proximity to transportation (major highways, airport, bus line, etc.)
- Proximity to lifestyle needs (grocery shopping, retail shopping, entertainment/dining, schools, worship)
- Will your budget match the area(s) in which you wish to live?
Examine all family members’ (and future potential family members) needs for items such as:
- One-level floor plan
- Need for first floor bedroom
- Size of home
- Number of bedrooms needed now and in the future
- Number of baths
- Number of cars in the family
Separate the need from the want
Although you may want certain amenities, if the budget does not allow it, you may not need them. It may help to distinguish needs from wants by asking yourselves the following questions:
- How long do you plan to live in the home?
- Are you willing to do fix-up work?
- How long will various family members live in the house?
- How often will you entertain, and what type and scope of entertaining might it be?
- How often will you have overnight guests?
- Will you work from home?
Housing affordability is determined by a formula based on a ratio of income and debt structure. You will want to seek advice from a mortgage lender or bank to determine what is affordable and comfortable for you. Consult your selected Realtor® or financial advisor at the commencement of your home-buying search to set realistic guidelines you can work with.
Having answered some important questions, it is time to review features that will best meet your personal needs:
Style: _____ Single story _____ Two-story
Type of Property: _____ One-family _____ Two-family _____ Condo _____ Townhouse
Age of home: _____ Build | New construction _____ New (one to five years old) _____ Six to 20 years old _____ 25-50 years old _____ Older home _____ Historic property
Energy: _____ Gas _____ Oil _____ Hot Air _____ Hot Water _____ Central Air _____ Allergy Needs
Exterior: _____ Frame _____ Maintenance Free _____ Brick _____ Other
Lot: _____ Size _____ Fenced _____ Treed _____ Private _____ Sun Exposure _____ Road Set Back
Future land use: ________________________________________ (pool, swing set, deck, gardens)
Bedrooms/baths: _____ # bedrooms and floor location _____ # baths and floor location
Garage: _____ Yes _____ Not needed _____ Size _____ Attached
Features: _____ Pool _____ Fireplace _____ Dining room _____ Family Room _____ Finished basement
Other items to investigate: (Consult your Realtor®, tax assessor’s office, or attorney)
- Current tax rate: ________
- Increased tax rate upon purchase: _______
- Standard contingencies in the purchase & sale agreement