Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions in life. It is not easy to find a commitment-worthy place. Without patience and attention to detail, you risk buying a property you cannot afford. These five tips will help you make up your mind.

1.  Consider Old vs. New

In general, the older a home is, the more you will pay for maintenance and renovation. For example, your new home may lack an alarm system, cable, or smart thermostats. You may have to change the heating, cooling, or plumbing systems. Check for optimal remodeling solutions.

Historic homes are subject to special guidelines prohibiting unapproved additions. On the upside, owners may get grants and pay less property tax. Well-established communities are also closer to restaurants and shops.

New houses are more expensive but further away from infrastructure. The lots are also smaller, so you may not have a big backyard.

2.  Figure Out Your Priorities

What if a house that looks ideal is located in a shoddy part of town? If a building is too beautiful for the neighborhood, it will have a hard time maintaining value, let alone appreciating it. Features of a good location typically include:

  • Convenient commute
  • Easy access to downtown
  • Access to good schools, etc.

Some people want a secluded area away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Create a list of must-haves and a list of needs and wants. Ask your real estate agent to match them to available offers.

3.  Narrow Down Your Search

Search listings online on websites with advanced custom filters. These often include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size, location, and price range. Save top contenders to review them later. Set up alerts to get notified when a new suitable property gets listed.

4.  Be Realistic

Few people find properties meeting all of their expectations. Clarify your budget from the get-go. If it turns out to be too small, consider starter homes, which are more affordable due to modest space. Your utility bills will be smaller, and you will not have to spend so much on new furnishings.

Think about your future finances. If you take out a mortgage on a costly home, will you be able to meet your monthly obligations? Find out what your utility bill will be like and how much the property tax is. You may also encounter some unexpected costs down the line, such as emergency repairs.

5.  Review the Essentials

Pay attention to anything that may require costly repairs: the roof, the windows, the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing. Make sure everything works during your walkthrough.

6.  Consider Your Homeowners Association

Finally, find out about the rules, restrictions, and covenants imposed by the HOA. Make sure you will be able to feel part of the community. Some HOAs have stringent rules like using specific colors to paint your house.