What to Consider Before Buying Your First House

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Guest blogger: Elizabeth Dodson
Elizabeth Dodson is the co-founder of HomeZada, an online solution to help you manage everything about your home in one place.

As an engaged or newly married couple, you might be at the point where buying a house is the next logical step to building your family nest egg. If you're a first-time home buyer, then it's critical to understand what your current needs are and anticipate any future needs as well.

Keep in mind not just the number of rooms you'll need, but also what types of rooms are important to you. For instance, are you planning on having children soon after getting married? Do you need both a family room and a living room or will one suffice? What if you'll have to work in a bedroom-turned-office? Do you prefer a multi-story home or a single-level house plan? Of course, the overall size of the home and your total budget are also important factors.

However, there are other key considerations that might not be top of mind but could end up impacting your lifestyle: 

home owners
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1. Work Commute
Spending time with your family is often overlooked when you need to manage your commute to work. Whether you are close to the office or far from it, this could affect the available time left to spend with loved ones. If you have a short commute, you can make it home for dinner or attend events, whereas longer commutes can create undue stress in the mornings and evenings.

2. School Districts
If you currently have kids or are planning on having children, then knowing which school districts they will attend and the caliber of those schools can make a difference in the overall education and influences of your child's life. Gathering detailed information about the schools (both public and private) in your potential new area will help you develop a strategy on how you want your children to be educated.

3. Neighborhood Surroundings
Take a walk around the neighborhood — find out where you would go to the grocery store or whether there are farmer's markets, if you prefer a local food flavor. Is the home close to other services you would need like a religious house of worship, dry cleaning, nail salons, gyms, physicians' offices and more? If you like to play a more active role in your community, then these types of services may also become outlets to making new friends and learning more about your neighborhood. Also, check to see whether there are any nearby entertainment facilities, such as movie theaters, outdoor venues, restaurants and parks.

4. Best Time to Buy
Factor in your life circumstances during this time. For example, you may be more flexible when buying a new home if you don't currently have any children. On the flip side, you might be in a position where a job promotion or relocation is critical to your moving date. If you have family members with health issues and you want to remain close enough for support, then you may prefer a home within a certain driving radius from them. 

home owners
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

5. Windows
There is a misconception that windows don't have that big of an impact when it comes to buying a home. However, a home with a lot of windows in a sunny location needs coverings or blinds to help manage the sun, and therefore the heat inside your home. Single pane windows are older windows, which can cause challenges in cold and warm areas, forcing your HVAC units to work harder during extreme weather conditions. (Replacing this type of window can be a rather large expense.)

6. Review the Home During Different Times of the Day
Where the light hits the home during different parts of the day could impact your home's comfort level. For example, morning sun that illuminates a particular area of the house could be a wonderful advantage, whereas a popular family room that doesn't have a lot of natural light may become a disadvantage.

Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make — you don't want to end up in a home that doesn't fit your needs. These six additional considerations will help you find a home you'll build wonderful memories in and cherish for years to come. 

Tell us: Are you in the process of buying your first house? What have you learned so far?

—Elizabeth Dodson


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