While the home itself is obviously one of the most important factors to consider when buying, it isn’t the only one homebuyers should consider. You’re not just buying a house; you’re buying into a neighborhood, a city and perhaps even the state. Therefore, you should be thinking of the big picture when you’re checking out properties.
Read on for a list of our four most important features for homebuyers – other than the home itself.
1. School district
Up first is the school district. Most homebuyers – especially first-timers – are looking to settle down and start a family. If this is true for you, you should be on the hunt for a home that doesn’t just work for the number of kids you want, but also for their education. Many properties’ price tag is directly proportional to the quality of the school district. It’s so prominent that the National Association of Realtors even has a field guide to schools and the impact quality education has on the homebuying process. Therefore, research the school districts as you narrow down locations that work for your family. Once you buy, stay invested in the local schools and do what you can to keep the quality up, like participating in community meetings – a highly rated educational system means more resale value for your home, if you do decide to move again.
“Highly rated schools mean more resale value for your home.”
2. Crime rate
It goes without saying that everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood. However, not every homebuyer does his or her homework before purchasing. Check out the area’s crime statistics and ask around about the quality of the local police and fire departments. You should also see what the average response time is for emergency services in your desired location. It’s incredibly hard to find a home that is in a neighborhood with absolutely no crime. From petty theft to vandalism, minor crime is hard to avoid. Even so, you’ll want to weigh the crime-related pros and cons before you make an offer.
Researching school districts and crime rates can get a bit dull, so why not kick back and enjoy a night on the town? Well, your options may be limited depending on where you want to live. Our third most important feature is the entertainment in your area. This can range from nightlife and restaurants to simpler attractions, like local parks and lakes. Every family has different priorities when it comes to entertainment. Make a list of yours and compare that to listings in your price range. You may be surprised by what you’re willing to compromise in the home if you get great walking trails, a waterfront view or excellent restaurants in return.
Finally, research property taxes. Each city or town has its own rates, and they can change each fiscal year. This is a crucial consideration when buying – taxes are on top of the list price of the home. Depending on where you live, it could be several hundred dollars – or more – per month, in addition to the mortgage and home insurance. On the plus side, higher taxes could mean better municipal maintenance, like well-kept roads.
Talk to a mortgage expert at First Centennial Mortgage for more about monthly payments you may qualify for – or for any other help with the homebuying process.