When you’re ready to buy your first home there are a number of things that come to mind from how much money you’ll need to where exactly you want to live.
You’ve likely already put together a list of all of your “must-haves” for the actual house, but you’ll also want to consider how that new home will fit into your lifestyle.
Moving is a big deal and your first home should enhance your lifestyle, not detract from it. When making the decision of which home to buy it’s critical that you look at how that home will work in your everyday life.
Here are five lifestyle considerations for buying your first home:
#1. Location, Location, Location
There’s a reason the “location, location, location” mantra is so widely used in real estate. Location matters, and not just for the obvious reasons. Sure, you want to consider the resale value of the area or the property taxes and school district, but it’s the ability and ease with which you can accomplish day-to-day tasks that can really make or break a location.
For example, if you currently live close to work and are considering a location further away for your first home, this will impact your lifestyle. More time spent commuting can have an impact on your schedule. Whether it’s being able to pick up the kids from daycare, do some shopping or making time to get to the gym or out for a run, all the little things in life take time.
It’s not just about commuting to work. Think about if there are other places you go to regularly, and how each possible home location works with that.
If you currently have children or are planning on having kids in the future, there are additional considerations. Are there schools in close proximity or will children need to travel to and from school on a daily basis? Are there suitable activities for kids nearby? Choosing a location that’s child-friendly will provide you with flexibility and convenience over time.
#2. Recreation and Amenities
How do you like to spend your time? Are you outdoorsy? A foodie? Someone who loves to pop down to the local stores to window shop?
When choosing your first home, finding a place that enables you to not only continue with many of your normal routines can make the adjustment to homeownership that much easier.
Think about what you like to do in your down time and start looking for neighborhoods that can support that.
A good place to begin is by deciding what’s most important to have close by to enhance your lifestyle. Some common considerations include:
- Trails or Walking Paths
- Gyms or Recreation Centers
- Public transit
#3. Your Budget
If you’re considering buying a home, you’ve likely already determined the budget for the actual house and budgeted for your down payment, closing costs and taxes to get you through the purchase.
Taxes and home maintenance will have to be accounted for on an ongoing basis. This is where townhome living can be a real plus as maintenance costs are lower, and if you purchase a new home you’ll have many years until you have to deal with routine items like getting a new roof.
Above and beyond these costs, buying a home may impact your ongoing monthly budget as well. For example, a monthly mortgage payment that’s higher than your current rent can translate to less disposable income.
To create a realistic budget for your first home, you’ll want to create a new monthly budget that takes all of these items into account.
#4. Your Five Year Plan
When you’re caught up in the excitement of buying your first home, thinking about where you’ll be five or ten years down the line may not be top-of-mind.
You may not have your entire life planned out, but knowing how long you plan on spending in the home before you purchase is important. The resale value of your home matters, and if you’re buying in an area that historically sees a slower rise in home values, buying and selling within the span of a few years may not yield the results you want.
Another major consideration if you’re looking at your five or ten-year plan is thinking ahead to what your life may look like. While no one has a crystal ball to see into the future, most of us have plans and goals we want to achieve so giving those some
thought is essential so you buy a home you can stay in for years to come.
#5. Features that are Essential to Your Lifestyle
Only you get to decide what matters most and would be considered “essential” for your lifestyle.
Think about your hobbies. If, for example, you’re an avid kayaker or cyclist, where are you going to store those bigger items? Do you need a garage because you love restoring motorcycles in your spare time?
A great example is how someone who is a keen gardener is probably going to want a bit of yard to work on. Conversely, someone who travels frequently for work and doesn’t spend a ton of time at home, may not have any interest in a garden or big lawn.
Buying your first home is an exciting prospect and you want to make the best choice possible. Taking time before you start looking at homes to figure out what matters most in your lifestyle means you’re that much more likely to find your perfect home.
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