If you are buying a home, one of the first things your real estate professional will do before taking you on home tours is interview you to determine the type of house you want such as a 2,000-square-foot four-bedroom, split-level with a formal dining room and two-car garage. But just as important is the type of community you want to live in. Knowing what your requirements are will help narrow your home search and save time.
To expedite the house-hunting process, start by making a list of the dream home factors that are most important to you and your family's lifestyle. Consider style, location, proximity to work and schools, yard size, children in the community, and of course, price.
Price and location generally are the key factors you'll use to identify the communities that best suit you. If you are moving within the same city, you may want to start your community search by getting in your car and exploring. There are also resources on the Internet that let you compare communities.
You'll want to ask yourself critical questions, such as: Do you dream of something quaint and charming that can only be found in an older area? Or, do you prefer everything new? Are you willing to sacrifice size and space for architectural detailing? What about drive and commute time to the office and schools? Will you forgo the number of bedrooms and a big yard for proximity to a lake or other recreational areas?
Whether you have children or not, buying a home in a community with good schools is important. It not only adds value to your property, but also is an attractive feature when and if you decide to sell. There are plenty of resources available to get information about schools within the communities you are considering. Various Internet sites offer school reports and profiles. They provide statistical data such as graduation rates, college-bound percentages, and standardized test scores. You can also learn about special programs the schools offer. In addition to these reports, many schools have their own Web sites you can peruse. And of course you can always talk to people in the area or take a tour of the school.
Additional factors you'll want to consider during your community search are crime, recreational activities, proximity to shopping and restaurants, and other specific family needs.
Once you've narrowed your search to two or three communities that fit your price range and lifestyle, make comparisons of price and sales activity. Your real estate professional can help you determine which communities are most sales-worthy at present, and which are more likely to continue to be.
There are many factors involved in selecting the right community for you and your family. Discuss your options with your real estate professional. This will provide the information he or she needs to help you find property listings to tour. Remember, a targeted approach to house hunting is less time consuming, less expensive and more efficient.