Choices – it’s great to have them but challenging to narrow them down. Whether choosing between where to have dinner, which movie to see, or something as important as where to live, making up our minds is sometimes quite difficult.
House hunting is either feast or famine: sometimes there are no homes that you like, and other times, there may be too many that offer exactly what you want. So, how do you “say yes to one and let the other one ride,” as the Lovin’ Spoonful so aptly put it back in 1966?
Here are some factors to consider when weighing one choice against the other.
Mortgage Costs and Financial Considerations
One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a home is assuming their monthly mortgage payment is the only financial outlay required when owning a home. The cost of homeownership includes more than the payment – sometimes much more. Consider these additional costs:
- Association, neighborhood, or condo fees
- Electricity, water, and other utilities
- Homeowner insurance
- Repair costs
- Maintenance, such as landscaping, pool service, etc.
TIP: Examine the residences in question from the perspective of the actual expenditures associated with owning them. It’s possible that one’s prices will price them out of the running altogether.
The Basics: Location, Structure, and Design
Think back to when you first decided to buy a home. While the price was most likely your biggest concern, the location may have factored into your concerns as well. Many homebuyers end up compromising on location, veering away from their original intent.
TIP: Compare the locations of the houses in question. Which one fits your original intent? Are you compromising on location when you don’t have to? Go over this list and remind yourself of which aspects of location are most important to you:
- Commuting distance
- Future nearby development projects
- Local crime
- Local economy
- Neighborhood age and cleanliness
- Neighborhood traffic noise
- Property values
- Proximity to shops, hospitals, and schools
- Nearby features that may drag down property values, such as a landfill
The structural integrity of the house is also extremely important when you choose a home. While it may seem beautiful, if it isn’t well built, home maintenance costs could cripple a new owner’s finances. Here’s another opportunity to compare houses. Which one is more structurally sound?
Something has equally attracted you to more than one home and typically, that something is designed.
TIP: What aspects of the design are shared between the two homes, and which one does a better job of showcasing those shared aspects? Take a look at the floor layouts and try to visualize yourself making use of the space. Which one has a higher practical value than the other? Do any of the rooms have an unusual shape that could end up driving you crazy?
Don’t Go Changin’. . .
Still, stuck? Consider what you would change about each home if money were not an issue for you and ask yourself what those changes would be. If you let your imagination run wild with this question, you might find that one of the houses is more appealing to you than the other.
In spite of the fact that we do not recommend that you follow your instincts or toss a coin when determining which house to buy, in the end, it may boil down to how you feel.
On one level you’re making an investment decision — but you’re also choosing something very emotional ― a home. When all the priorities are examined, and all the pros and cons of each choice are considered, whether or not a house feels like home is an important consideration.
We’re happy to help you find the perfect home in the ideal location.