Buying a first home can be a daunting process. Apart from the somewhat complex issue of financing, there is the matter of finding the “perfect home.” Here are some things buyers should maybe not sweat—and some surprising facts about what they should be concerned about.
Your furniture doesn’t fit
As you look at all those houses on the market, you may be visualizing how your favorite chair and dining room table will fit in the space. Unless your furniture has some special significance to you—it came over on the Mayflower with your great-great-great grandma—it’s probably not something you should let guide your decision. You may decide that the other features of the home are just what you want, even if your furniture doesn’t fit. You may want to use the new home as an excuse to upgrade your furniture.
The décor is hideous
Let’s face it: some people have horrible taste in wall colors. A seller may have had a fondness for deep purple paint on the living room walls and other deeply saturated primary colors in every other room. These colors will influence your impression of the home. Try to resist these kinds of negative impressions; painting is cheap, even if you hire a contractor to do the work for you.
What you can’t change
Although you can change many attributes of a home, like décor, furnishings and even appliances, there are those that you can’t change, such as the view, construction, and location.
The most important feature
An important aspect of the location, and one that most buyers pay attention to, is the school districts. Realtor.com conducted a survey of 1,000 home buyers in 2013 to explore the importance of schools to their buying decision. Even though the survey is from four years ago, there is every reason to believe they are relevant today.
The survey found that 3 out of 5 home buyers surveyed said that school boundaries would drive their home purchasing decisions.
When asked about school districts:
- 90.53 percent said school boundaries are "important" and "somewhat important."
- 2.04 percent were "neutral" around importance of school boundaries
- 7.43 percent said school boundaries are "unimportant" and "very unimportant"
School districts also affected what they were willing to pay for a home:
- 23.59 percent would pay 1 percent to 5 percent above budget
- 20.70 percent would pay 6 percent to 10 percent above budget
- 8.98 percent would pay 11 percent to 20 percent above budget
- 40.33 percent would not go above budget
School districts were also more important than a pool or spa—two generally popular amenities:
- 62.39 percent would do without a pool or spa
- 50.60 percent would give up accessibility to shopping
Even for the young home buyer who does not plan to start a family soon—or ever—these findings are important. A home is the largest investment most people will ever make, and keeping the market appeal in mind for that time in the distant future when they may be ready to sell can make that first home an even better investment.