Once you've been pre-qualified and have a good idea of how much home you can afford, it's time to ask yourself a very important question - What am I looking for in a home? To answer this question, you'll have to shift your mode of thinking.
In the first step, a scientific approach was used. You entered your income and relevant financial data, worked with the numbers and arrived at an appropriate starting point - your mortgage parameters.
But you won't be arriving at which house to buy with any chart or computer. It's much more subjective and intangible.
To help you through this foggy phase, we're pleased to present you with some housing preference considerations to give you a more tangible idea of what to look for before you begin to search for that Dream Home in earnest.
To narrow down the thousands of possibilities in your area, start with broad strokes such as price range and general locale and then fill in the details such as neighborhood, features and type of ownership: Condo, Single Family Residence, Townhome, etc.
For many, quality of life factors such as proximity to schools and parks are important, but if you're concerned about resale value, focus on location.
There is not single factor that affects the value of your home more that location. Most buyers are willing to sacrifice desired home features and preferences to get into the area or neighborhood they want to live in. This makes sense: You can always add an extra room or a swimming pool later. But once you've moved in, no amount of home improvements can move your home from the city to the suburbs or vis a versa.
What You Should Look for in a Neighborhood
Here are the seven top characteristics that potential buyers look for when choosing a neighborhood to live in, brought to you courtesy of a recent survey:
A "good" or "better" neighborhood
Close to shopping
Close to family and friends
Proximity to work
Close to parks/recreation
*Source Newspaper Association of America
Picking the right neighborhood will require plenty of due diligence on your part. To do it fast and smart, try some of these tips then go with your gut instinct.
Get a detailed map. It should tell you where to find schools, parks, shopping areas, and public buildings (libraries, etc.) A good source are the Thomas Bros. maps found at any good book store. Get out and look around.
You can also look on the web at Google Maps. They have "street view" there that will give you a glimpse of your prospective neighborhood.
Drive the neighborhood at different times of the day. Notice the traffic patterns. Does it appear safe and well-lit? Does it appear well planned? Do people show pride of ownership?
Ask other people what they think about the neighborhood. Ask co-workers, neighbors, etc., what they think of the area.
Grade the schools. Schedule a meeting with somebody from the local school. Get hard statistics about district (class size, amount of money spent per pupil, etc.) We can help you with this; ask for the free school report by contacting us.
Janus Mortgage Corporation is a mortgage broker licensed in the State of California, under the auspices of the California Bureau of Real Estate license number 02038085 and the National Mortgage License Registry NMLS Number 1690954, . All offers for loan programs are made for loans on California properties only.