When purchasing a home, it’s easy to get distracted by all of the options. A home in the country looks attractive, but what about maintaining the land? A condominium seems easy to care for, but what about extra fees? A single family home in an older community feels right, but what if the house is older? The first step to finding your home is creating a list of things that you need to think about. Here are things you should consider.

HOA Fees

Home owner’s association fees (HOAs) are usually imposed when the home is a condominium, attached to another home, or even part of a planned community. Inquire immediately about HOA fees. They will cover things like insurance, lawn care and snow removal. However, remember that the monthly bill is in essence adding to your monthly mortgage. Always include this in your mortgage calculation.

Structure

Many home buyers don’t know where to begin when looking for a single family home. Should you rule out older homes and just stick with new construction? There are pros and cons to both situations. Consider the individual characteristics of each house. Look at the age of the HVAC systems and decide when they need to be replaced. Have someone evaluate the roof and whether it needs replaced soon. On newer constructed homes, you still need a great home inspector since newer methods of construction don’t always use the hardiest materials.

Neighborhood

The place where you buy the home is very important for many reasons. First, you want it to be economical to live and work in place not too far from home. Second, you should be aware of the general direction of home values in the neighborhood. Are things going up, down, or staying the same. Just because you get an amazing deal on a home in a bad neighborhood doesn’t make it the right fit. Often choosing the worst house in the best neighborhood is a wise decision. Third, if you have kids or are thinking of having them, decide whether this is the house where they would be raised. If so, you’ll need to evaluate the school system.

Pools

Pools often seem attractive to a home buyer. But if you have never owned a pool before, it’s wise to study up. The cost of a pool adds additional expenses to your budget. The pool must be cleaned and maintained and then officially closed in the off season. You also need to invest in an airtight pool cover and in some jurisdictions, even a fence, to ensure the pool is safe for neighboring kids and pets.

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