Don't fall in love and think big picture!   Far to often home buyers fall in love with a home because of all the upgrades and amenities it may offer or because it has been staged to sell, but home buyers, especially first timers,  need to think long term and big picture to make sure their hard earned dollars will be spent on a house that is also a viable long term investment.   Many times when buyers let their emotions rule their decisions, it leads to paying more for a property than necessary or that could also be duplicated in another home more reasonably priced for much less than the cost of the home you just fell in love with.  Potential resale value should also be a major factor you consider during your decision making.   Would future buyers have the same desire for the location or characteristics of the home or will it be a challenge to sell if you need to move in the future?  You want to make the best decision possible for your new home, so down the line you have you can potentially avoid regrets.   Here is a list of questions you should research about the property and its surroundings before making an offer so you can protect your investment and make the best decision possible for your new home.

  1. Is the home in a popular neighborhood that will have buyer demand in the future?
  2. What have the comparable properties sold for recently?  Is the property in line with sales prices, above, or below?
  3. Will the purchase price of the home still allow room for your lifestyle or will you be at your "max" and have to forgo some of your favorite activities to afford it?
  4. Is it in a desirable location or will factors like busy roads or traffic make the property less desirable?
  5. Many buyers choose their towns based on schools,  even if you don't have children the school system can impact your resale value.  How does the school system compare to other towns in the area?
  6.  Are your primary shopping locations within a reasonable distance for you?
  7. Is it a reasonable commute to work or other locations you will need to frequently travel to?
  8. Is there enough room for your present and potential future living situation?
  9. Is there enough storage space?
  10. Are the upgrades in the home worth paying top dollar or can they be done in another home for far less?
  11. Does the home include all of your "needs" and not just your "wants"?
  12. When walking through the home, did you note all pros and cons of the home?  It is extremely important to consider all aspects so you know if you can live long term with whatever negative aspects exist as well as the positive.
  13. What is the age and condition of the main systems of the home?  In some areas you can request a seller's disclosure.  You may need to prepare for potential repair or replacement costs if  the systems are aged.
  14. Will the seller provide a home warranty?  After your purchase that tends to be when money is the tightest, it helps to have warranty protection in case something goes wrong when you first purchase.
  15. Can you afford to make the repairs or replacements that may be needed?
  16. Have you contacted the township to get an accurate tax bill?
  17. Request the property sale history if available so you can have background knowledge on price increases or decreases over time, and sale frequency.
  18. What are the current utility costs?  While costs can vary greatly between home owners and their lifestyles, knowing the current costs can at least give you a ballpark idea of what additionally you will need to budget.
  19. Any current or past leaks or water issues in the property and how were they fixed?
  20. Have you seen enough homes to make an informed decision on which home will be the best investment long term?

In conclusion, don't fall in love.  Do your best to make your decisions keeping all aspects of the home in mind, the positive and negative, so you can make a wise choice for not just your present circumstances but your future as well.