Making the Decision Between Two Great Houses when buying a home
Often, homebuyers get so wrapped up in not being able to find the perfect house that they are taken by surprise when two great options suddenly present themselves. If you are “lucky” enough to find yourself in this situation, you may find the choice between two seemingly perfect homes is more difficult than you would have imagined. Unfortunately, time is rarely on your side when dealing with buying a home, and you will likely need to make a decision within a few days (if not a few hours). Here is a look at some of the factors you can consider as you try to choose which house will become your home.
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. Price – If both homes are in your desired price range, then cost shouldn’t be the ultimate deciding factor. Many homebuyers, however, find themselves torn between a house that is within their budget and one that is more of a stretch. Remember that you are committing to a mortgage payment for the next 15 or 30 years, so a lower-priced house may improve your standard of living in the long run.
. Neighborhood – There are several things you can change about a house, but location isn’t one of them. You need to do your research and find out about the quality of the neighborhoods you are considering (especially if your two options are on different sides of town). Look around to see how well your prospective neighbors maintain their houses and yards. You should also consider how far from home you’d have to travel to reach amenities like stores, restaurants, and your workplace. Think about the homeowners association as well, especially if they are in different locations.
. Crime – It’s easy to search the Internet and find out crime statistics for any neighborhood. You can also take a trip to your local police station and talk to someone there about the appeal (or lack thereof) of a certain area. Even if violent crime isn’t an issue, high rates of vandalism or theft could be enough to sway you toward one home over the other.
. Schools – The school zone you are moving to might be your number one deciding factor. Even within districts, however, your two houses may be associated with different schools. Make sure to research the reputations of the elementary, middle, and high schools in both areas, and remember that you may end up having kids in this house even if they aren’t currently part of your life. Better school districts also tend to attract better neighbors, so you may find that schools are worth researching even if children aren’t on your radar. are listed for each home with access to more school details from each page.
. Condition of the Houses – Don’t be too quick to overlook issues with potential homes just because of your emotional attachment. For instance, if one home is move-in ready and the other has potential but would take a lot of work, then you may decide that the one in better condition now is the right choice for your family. It’s a good idea to have home inspections done for both of your choices so that you can find out if either one has any hidden problems.
. Potential for Appreciation – Your Realtor® will be a font of knowledge about the investment potential of each home. Ask your agent to do some research about the sales in each neighborhood over the last few years. You may find that one area is appreciating significantly faster than the other, in which case it will be easy to figure out which home will be wiser to invest in.
. Downsides – In addition to listing all the pros of both homes, you should also address the cons. By making lists of all the things you don’t like about both options, you may realize that one house is actually more appealing than the other. Remember to rank the downsides by how serious they are–for instance; a mold problem in one house probably trumps a dated kitchen in the other.
In the end, your decision will come down to trusting your gut. Though the situation may seem difficult, you are actually very lucky to have two homes you love. Choose the one that appeals more to you–even slightly–and you should find that you are happy with your decision. Your Real Estate Agent is there to help guide you through this process. Be sure to lean on them for market data and knowledge of the local area.