As a prospective homebuyer, you are in control of the transaction. You directly determine where you buy, the price range and any specific amenities that are important to you. Before you get too far there are a few non-negotiable items that you need to discuss. These three essential items will often determine your starting point and eliminate many potential properties. As you are beginning your property search it is important to focus on the three “L’s” of the transaction: location, layout and lot. Nothing else makes a difference if these three boxes aren’t checked.
Location. Before you get too far with price ranges and bedroom counts you need to nail down a location. You can find a perfect property but if it is 30 minutes from town it won’t be the one for you. In picking a location there are a number of factors to consider. Property taxes, demographics and school systems are just a tip of the iceberg. You also need to factor in if you want seclusion of if you are more comfortable being near the epicenter of town. The location you pick has a direct influence on supply which impacts the price point. You should pick a few towns or cities you are comfortable with and then a few subareas in these towns. The clearer you are with your location the easier it is to find your dream home.
Layout. There are people who will tell you that you can change almost anything about a house. While this is certainly the case with the appliances, flooring and walls it does not hold true for the layout. Knocking down a wall and opening up a room can change the appearance but the layout will still be the same. Start with a vision of what you want out of the rooms that are the most important to you. If the master bedroom doesn’t have the closet size you desire it is almost impossible to find the extra space. The same is the case with the living room, kitchen and almost every other room in the house. Before you start your home search you should know the style of home you want and what you can expect from a layout.
Lot. Are you someone who values privacy? Are you comfortable being in close proximity to your next door neighbor? Do you want to be on a dead end or a cul-de-sac where the location of the lot has a great influence on the appeal of a property? A house can have everything you desire but if the backyard offers little privacy it may not be the perfect home for you. The same is the case if the property is setback in the woods or has a long driveway away from the house. If you have a family or are thinking about starting one, you may not want a property on a busy street. All of these can be potential deal breakers regardless of the square footage or room count. Always consider what you want out of the lot before you start your search.
If you can answer these three questions, you will have a great head start on your property search. Anyone can figure out price, room count and square footage. It is the little items that can make a property your dream home.