house hunting? yes, a good looking houseis high on your checklist-- but don't stop there. here's a handy guide to ensuringthe home you're considering is right for youand your lifestyle. #1. communicate. pop into the neighborhood pizzaplace, coffee shop, or diner-- wherever locals hang out--and strike up a conversation.
how do those localslike the area? the schools? are there proposedchanges happening that you should know about? #2. community. if you're looking for aclose knit neighborhood-- sidewalks and porchesare a good sign people there talk to each other.
and an abundance of"snout houses"-- that is, homes where the garageis the dominant feature-- can hint that thiscommunity commutes. #3. walkability. what can you walk tofrom your front door? is there a park? public transportation? restaurants and shopping?
if things you careabout are literally 'right around thecorner' you're probably going to like where you live. you can easily checkthe "walkability score" of the neighborhood you'reconsidering with sites like the walkscore.com. #4. proximity. proximity to what?
whatever's important to you. do you travel-- a lot? an easy commute to anairport means more time with your family. being near a large city--but not right in it-- can improve job prospectsand social opportunities, without enduringthe concrete jungle. #5. affordability.
many house hunters onlyconsider their mortgage costs when estimating a new budget. but don't forget totake into consideration additional transportationcosts-- insurance, gas and tolls for acar, for instance. those expenses shouldn'tadd up to more than 45% of your income. also, ask about utility costs--and consider potential home repairs, especially for olderhomes-- and maintenance--
that big yard is going to take alot of mowing, raking, planting and blowing. you should expect to stay inyour home for about nine years. a lot can changein that time-- so be sure to consider thischecklist before you lay down your welcome mat atyour new front door.