As you start your search, you may have a loose idea you want, and it can be tempting to type “Windsor, Colorado homes for sale” into Google to see what’s available, but there are a few more factors to consider first. Choosing the first town you’ve heard of may be easy, but it might not lead to your dream home. Instead, researching and crafting an image of your perfect house can do wonders for your search and communicating your needs to a professional agent, like realtor Christian Garcia. What factors are most important to ensure your home search goes smoothly and provides the best results?
Location is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when looking for a home. You want to be in a city or town you enjoy. Maybe you prefer living a quiet life in the country, with space between neighbors, or you want an urban environment with energy and excitement. You don’t want to live far from work, friends, or activities. You want to purchase in a safe area. Before you search, find out what locations suit your desired lifestyle.
Look at local amenities, distance to your work, and the neighborhoods you can buy in. It’s even beneficial to look at the past sales prices of other homes in your chosen area to see the potential resale of your house. You should also consider the local economy – is it strong, thriving, growing, or based on a dying industry? You may decide it’s better to move slightly farther away to an area that’s doing better rather than face the potential risks of the town falling into disrepair.
A single person living alone likely doesn’t need a seven-bedroom mansion, and you certainly don’t want to maintain it. Likewise, a large family with five kids won’t be happy in a two-bedroom condo. When looking at houses, cull out the ones that fit your needs, rather than purchasing a place too big or small to suit you.
Also, take a careful look at how the rooms are arranged. Does the laundry room on the top floor of the house require you to climb the stairs with piles of linen? Is the bathroom located in an ideal spot? Some homes have odd layouts with rooms too small or uniquely-shapen to be helpful or areas far from other related spaces. You may also find that you aren’t a fan of an open layout and want more division between rooms, or, conversely, you find a house a little suffocating when everything is completely closed off. Make sure the home you buy has space that is usable by you.
It can be tempting to save money and purchase a fixer-upper, but make sure you know what you’re getting into. It’s one thing to patch a few holes in the walls and repaint, and an entirely different situation to repair a faulty foundation. Issues can be revealed during the inspection, but rather than get your hopes up as you fall in love with a property, keep an eye out for signs of significant issues.
Look for leaks, cracks in the foundation, sagging or bubbling drywall, or faulty electricity – doing so can save you time, effort, and money. Brand-new construction isn’t a guarantee either, especially if you weren’t involved in vetting and choosing the builder. Make sure everything was correctly done without cutting corners, and look for issues people might not know about until living in the home, like drainage issues in the yard, dirty air ducts, or incomplete caulking around the windows. They may seem minor but indicate that other parts of the build were also done incorrectly.
It’s also important to look at the available outdoor space. If you have kids or pets, you’ll want a backyard for them to play safely. If you love gardening, you may want an area with the correct amount of sun to grow produce or flowers. If you’re a social butterfly, you may want a large deck to entertain and enjoy the beautiful Colorado summers. While you don’t necessarily need the outdoor space finished to your specifications, you want to know that you have the option to customize it to suit your interests and lifestyle.
Before searching for a home to purchase, you should sit down with your bank and determine your budget range. There’s no reason to look at houses that cost more than you want to pay or to overextend when there are plenty of other options.
While considering the price, consider the lesser-known costs – mortgage insurance, closing costs, and even monthly payments like homeowners insurance and HOA fees. While a house may look affordable from the sales price, you may find that those monthly maintenance costs will put you over what you want to spend.
Families with children will want to consider the quality of the local school system and the availability of private schools. Using sites such as GreatSchools and Niche, you can check the student-teacher ratio, test score comparisons with other districts and state schools, school rankings, and awards. As you narrow your search to a few houses, you may even want to talk to friends or potential neighbors about the school district – learn what schools their children attend and how they feel about the teachers and curriculum there.
It’s essential to be near your favorite restaurants, stores, and activities to be happy in your new house, so look at what’s nearby. Make sure a few good restaurants offer delivery for the nights when you need dinner with minimal effort. Ensure that nearby skiing, theaters, or other activities allow you to enjoy your free time. Choosing a neighborhood with these things nearby means spending more time doing what you love instead of driving to it.
Another drive you’ll want to check on is your commute to work. No one dreams of having to drive an hour before and after a long workday, so at least once, try driving between work and any potential houses during your regular travel times. Doing so allows you to take note of traffic, different route options, and the mileage for gas.
People who have other regularly scheduled activities, such as sports practices for the kids or book clubs, may also want to repeat this experiment with those destinations. It will give you a clear picture that one house puts you right into the thick of rush hour while another provides accessible transit.
Think about the lifestyle available for any homes you’re considering. Perhaps you’re looking for a house in a vibrant neighborhood with plenty of kids and young families to socialize with, or you’re a retiree seeking a quieter space. Different areas can provide wildly different vibes and environments, and choosing the one that fits your dream lifestyle has long-lasting impacts on your happiness and quality of life.
Some of this can be determined with online research. Your realtor’s website may have community guides that provide insight into different towns or neighborhoods, or you can use other resources like AreaVibes and even Zillow. You’ll also benefit from speaking with local residents, friends, and coworkers who know the area and can weigh in based on their experiences. Additionally, an experienced Realtor can help you determine what town or neighborhood best suits you and your family.
Searching for your dream home is not a task to take lightly and is one where you should utilize every resource at your disposal. Whether looking at the urban lifestyle in Greeley condos or family homes in Windsor, the house and the surrounding atmosphere must be carefully weighed.