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By, Lisa Roberts

Homebuyers face one of the biggest fears – that they will need to make huge sacrifices. If you want your home search to be successful, it must begin with a strict wish list. When you have your definitive inventory of must-haves, you will have a clearer idea of how to focus your search, and you will be able to recognize whether a potential home is or isn’t worth your time. However, it is very common for people to see that list grow longer as the search for a new home goes deeper and deeper. Sadly, sooner or later, you will have to accept that it is simply impossible to have everything. This means that you will have to make some compromises somewhere. And after all, that is OK. It is essential to be flexible in life. But there are a few things for which you should draw the line. Let’s see which are the most important things for you not to compromise on.

Buying a fixer-upper when you really want a turnkey

Before starting anything else, you have to figure out one thing. Are you up to the financial and emotional challenges of buying an unfinished or old house and taking on significant renovations?

Buying a home that’s a bit of a fixer-upper is an excellent option if you find yourself in a highly competitive market. But if you don’t think your bank account or mental health could survive many months of upheaval, you should most certainly stick to your initial plan and insist on a turnkey home.

Remember that some homes can be “hidden fixer-uppers. “ Experts from Safari Movers Atlanta have reported a surge of people moving into houses, only then finding out that there is much work to do on them.

A home that needs a major remodel
If you don’t want to spend extra money on remodels, you have to stick to your initial idea of buying turnkey.

A good school district

Being in a good school district is a home feature every family needs. Even if you don’t have children, you should make sure the house you are eyeing has good schools nearby. This isn’t necessarily because we believe you will “change your mind” and have kids in the future. The point of doing this is that good schools typically entail a higher resale value. Potential buyers with families will want to be in the right district.

Just make sure to do your research. Determine where the home sits in relation to the school district boundaries. You could, for instance, go to the school district’s website and check out a map of the district boundaries.

The neighbors

During your search, don’t just focus on the house you’re interested in. Make sure you remember to check out the neighborhood as well. Go and see if the properties around your potential home are well-kept, for instance.

The condition of the properties around you can affect your future resale value and increase or decrease your ROI. They can also just plain drive you crazy. Make sure you look (and listen) around any time you pay a visit to your prospective home. Having peace and quiet in your home and neighborhood is definitely something not to compromise on.

A graphic of two apartment neighbors
Make sure not to compromise on having good neighbors when you’re buying a home.

The floor plan

If the home you’re looking at does not fit your minimum criteria regarding the number of rooms and the flow of the main living areas, cross it off your list. Of course, you can always add on. But it would be best if you did not use that option as a fallback.

For example, you can easily change a layout to make it an open floor plan. But, it will be a lot more challenging to change the bedroom and bathroom count. In the long run, you could end up having a lot of problems with this process. And it can also bring an enormous financial undertaking to you.

Your budget

You’re most likely to already have determined how much you’re willing to pay for a home. And you really should not budge on that number. However, something that you should do is dig in your heels when it comes to the additional costs that go beyond the sticker price. This means setting a strict budget for your monthly payments, HOA dues, utility costs, and real estate taxes. It is best if you make time to do this before you start looking at homes. And you should definitely do this before you start making offers on homes.

A lender is able to give you a pre-approval and tell you how much house you can afford. However, this is just one part of the big picture. The huge (and ever-growing) costs of homeownership can still land you in an awful load of debt if you do not tread carefully.

If you do end up having to downsize, remember that moving can be a tricky process, and decluttering before moving will be necessary. Go through your things and decide what to keep.

Commute time

If you’ve already determined an exact commute that you are willing to take on, don’t allow yourself to be swayed into anything longer. If 30 minutes is okay, don’t budge for even a minute longer.

As an example, if the commute to work is an hour long. It might not matter right now because you love the house. But you have to remember that that’s two hours every day that you’ll be sitting in the car and not enjoying your home. 

Until you’ve driven the route to and from your potential home and your office, at times you’ll be commuting, you should never consider compromising.

Parking

While we’re on your car, if you own one (or however many), you should be looking for a home with a guaranteed parking spot, whether that means an enclosed garage, a driveway, or assigned parking.

Many communities now restrict outside parking, guest spaces, and overnight parking, which could be an absolute homeowner nightmare if you have to fend for yourself.

Cars parked in a line
If you have a car, don’t settle for a home that can’t provide you with a parking space

Final Thoughts…

If you really have seen all the signs that it’s time to sell your home and move on, you have to be aware of how complex and difficult of a process that is. The best way for you to prevent any frustration after you’ve closed a deal is to stick to your original plans, especially about the things that are most important to you. While you are making your choice, heed these warnings about what not to compromise on, and ignore the rest of the noise.

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