9 Things to Consider When House Hunting

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Hunt For Homes, LLC

If you have decided to buy a home, there is much to consider. But before you get too far ahead of yourself and jump in the car and start driving up and down every street, devise a plan that incorporates the following factors that will influence your decision:


price considerations1.     The price – Before investing too much time looking for property, make the effort to contact a reputable mortgage lender to see not only how much house you would qualify to purchase, but what your “monthly comfort level” is. At the end of the month, you might still want to eat and have cash to travel or entertain. Having a financial “cushion” each month makes your monthly obligations easier to live with. When looking for property, bear in mind that you can offer less than the asking price. So if you see a house listed 3-5% over your comfort level, don’t be afraid to include it among your list of possibles.


2.     The size of the home – in addition to the number of bedrooms and baths, consider the other rooms you may desire in your square footage requirements. Many homeowners want a large, spacious house, but are wary of rising heating and cooling costs. Consider that newer homes are built more efficiently – not only with better insulating materials, but also by making better use of square footage. Many newer homes have replaced the separate living room and family room configuration with a kitchen and large open living area called a great room, making more efficient use of space and reducing overall square and cubic footage. Many newer homes now have just one dining area as well. 


neighborhood3.     The neighborhood – location, location, location. What to look for in the location of your home may have as much to do with your proximity to services as it does to the caliber of schools your kids attend, what the neighborhood looks like or even who’s living on your block. You may be looking for someplace close to town with easy access to work, shops and restaurants, school, the park, a golf course or a medical facility. You may be seeking the seclusion of a quiet, rural setting.  Even if some of these things aren't important to you now, when it comes time to sell, the location of the home will always have an impact. If the quality of homes in the neighborhood is high and their relative sizes is consistent, the value of the property is likely to exhibit greater stability over time and add additional value above and beyond just the size of the lot and the house.


4.     The style of home – beyond the form of contemporary, traditional, craftsman etc. think about your lifestyle and how it will be accommodated by the house. Do you require a single story, daylight basement, guest quarters, a split floor plan, a separate media room, office or home school area?  Consider the “flow” of the house. A clear flow of movement from room to room creates a sense of order that contributes to feelings of calm and peace in a home. Some people may call this Feng Shui, but it’s simply just good design. Make sure the space works for you. 


school5.     Local schoolsIf you are single, do not plan to have children, or your children are grown, you may dismiss the “school factor” as part of your home purchase decision. Even if you are not personally making use of them, keep in mind that schools affect the property taxes you pay and affect the desirability of certain neighborhoods. Furthermore, when you're ready to sell the home, many buyers will give serious consideration to the schools in your neighborhood. Of course, if you have children or plan to have children in the future, schools and the quality of education will be very important in your choice of neighborhood. In fact, it may be the deciding factor.


6.     The lot size, shape and amenities – If you need to accommodate a lot of "toys" or just enjoy recreating in your own yard, consider a property with a large lot. If not already outfitted, you may wish to add a pool, deck, patio, hot tub, shop, or RV parking, or may just desire some privacy, or room for pets and other animals. If important to you, factor in the value of a view from your property. If you’re living in a subdivision, it may just be the neighbor’s house. Depending upon the condition of the neighbor’s house and his yard, you may choose to live somewhere else. If they are unsightly to you, note any phone, electric poles, cell towers or other obstructions that may impede your enjoyment of your view.


7.     The age of the home – If you are considering the purchase of an older age of househome, be sure to factor in the costs for future if not immediate repairs or remodeling before making an offer. Sometimes the expense for repairs and remodeling of the lower priced home will cost you more than a comparably sized newer home at a higher price.


8.     Use of the Property – If you intend to use your property for specific functions – whether it be a rural, suburban or urban setting, you will want to contact the local municipal or county planning and building department to learn what zoning allowances are permitted for the home you’re interested in. In most residential areas, the main classification is single-family residential, but in some communities, the zoning may allow transitional, multi-family, or mixed use which permits both residential and commercial uses. If you intend to raise animals or crops in a rural area, you will want to inquire about restrictions that may affect the number and kinds of animals permitted, as well as issues regarding irrigation water rights, effluent runoff and erosion control among many others.


farm9.     Special Considerations with rural property – most property outside the urban growth boundary must rely upon on site water and sewer facilities. In such instances, a productive well and functional septic system is essential. Be sure to enlist the assistance of a Realtor who is familiar with how these systems function and are properly tested before house hunting out in the county. Other rural property assets to consider include water irrigation rights and infrastructure if any, boundary surveys, fencing, outbuildings, easements, encroachments and other existing or accessible utility resources such as electricity, natural gas, telephone, and cable.

With all of these variables, keep in mind that your most valuable asset in the buying process is the assistance of an experienced Realtor who has your best interests at heart. 

Posted by

Tod Hunt, Broker   Home Quest Realty Medford OR



Mobile: 541-778-1114

Office Line: 541-774-5503

Office Fax: 541-612-4621

1575 E. McAndrews Road, Suite 200

Medford, OR 97504

Comments (1)

Catherine Ulrey
Keller Williams Capital City - Salem, OR
Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist

Great points to share with a buyer!

Feb 21, 2012 03:43 AM