Before beginning the search for a new house in New Haven County, make a few lists. Your first list should name everything you would love to have in your new home; make note of the neighborhood you prefer, the home’s ideal size and number of bedrooms and baths, and every feature and amenity you could want.
Next, break that list down into two new lists—one a priority list that includes those features you cannot live without, and the other ranking those items on your wish list in order of importance. For instance, if a basement is a deal breaker, put it on the first (priority) list. If you would like a garage but it’s not a deal breaker, put it on your wish list in order of importance—decide which features you really need at move-in, and which features you are willing to add yourself later.
To further help you decide what your dream home will need to be, we’ve put together some questions to ask yourself as you compile your lists.
1. What type of property is right for you at this time?
Have you got your heart set on a single-family home? Would a maintenance-free property like a condo or townhouse be a better fit for your lifestyle? This is important to weigh ahead of time, since you need to determine the amount of upkeep a yard or pool of your own will require and be realistic about whether or not you want to take on mowing, weeding, shoveling, etc. If you think a townhouse or condo is a better fit for your lifestyle, consider how much you can afford monthly for maintenance and/or HOA fees in addition to your mortgage payment. Keep an open mind too. Some people think they only want to see single family homes when there may be some condos or town homes that have the garage, updated kitchen and basement they’re after. If you can’t find a single-family home in the neighborhood you like with the amenities you need or want, consider whether or not to tell your realtor that you’re willing to look at other options as well.
2. Consider what interior options will work best with your lifestyle.
Do you envision the “man cave” of your dreams in your new home, or is your priority to have a separate bedroom and bathroom for every family member? Do you like to entertain outdoors, or do you prefer an indoor space for hosting dinner parties and casual gatherings? Be realistic about how you would use the space in your new home; if an open concept floor plan is a must, consider looking at homes that could suit the bill if you’re willing to take on some renovation projects. If you’re not up to tearing out walls, tell your realtor that you would like to see homes that already have an open floor plan.
3. Are you looking for move-in ready, or would you prefer to find a “fixer-upper” that you can stamp with your own identity?
If you have the luxury of a great budget that can easily get you the turnkey home of your dreams, that’s great! If your budget is tight and you don’t mind some putting in some sweat equity, you might want to consider looking at homes that are below budget, but need some renovations. If you save $50,000 on the home’s sale price, you can put that savings toward a kitchen or bath upgrade, installing wood flooring, creating a master suite where one doesn’t exist or any project that will give you the home you want at a price that’s affordable. Ask your realtor to show you some properties with good bones that may need some TLC, and see if you don’t find a hidden gem to make your own.
4. What surroundings best fit your lifestyle?
Do you prefer living in the center of things, with restaurants, shopping and even your workplace within walking distance? Or do you prefer a neighborhood with plenty of space between your home and your neighbors? Do you need to live within your children’s school district, or do you have residency requirements for your job? The more you can tell your realtor regarding your lifestyle and family needs, the more suitable properties they can show you. Whether you’re moving locally or are settling in New Haven County for the first time, a professional real estate agent is your best bet for finding the right home for you.
5. How long do you see yourself living in your new home?
Some home buyers move every few years because of career demands, while others buy one home and live in it for decades. Whether you’re looking for a “starter” home or a place your future family can grow into, it’s important to share your individual needs with your real estate agent. Perhaps you want a place that can accommodate a roommate if necessary, a home with a rental property attached or something you will feel comfortable in even after your children leave the nest.
Be realistic about what you need and want in a home, and find a professional realtor to help you find it.