14 Factors to Look for When Buying a House

Purchasing a home is a voyage that leads to a destination where memories will be created, families will grow, and life will be lived. As you embark on this journey in Airdrie, the road map is clear. 

The 14 factors to look for when buying a house are:

  • Financial Considerations
    • Budget
    • Resale Value
    • Market Conditions
    • Property Taxes
    • Homeowner Association (HOA) Fees
  • Property Specifics
    • Size and Layout
    • Condition of the Property
    • Home Inspection
    • Energy Efficiency
  • Location and Environment
    • Location
    • Neighborhood Dynamics
    • Transportation
  • Legal and Regulatory Issues
    • Legal Issues
    • Homeowner Association (HOA) Regulations

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, these elements will guide your search for a place not just to live but to thrive.

1. Budget

Mortgage Affordability

Starting with the basics, mortgage affordability is about how much you can borrow. It’s also about what you can pay monthly without stretching your finances too thin.

It’s essential to be realistic and factor in not just your current income but also your job stability and future earning potential.

A trusted real estate agent can provide valuable advice for situations like this. They can help you understand how much mortgage you can manage.

Insurance Costs

Homeowners insurance is another non-negotiable. This protects your new home from unexpected events, but it can vary widely based on location, home size, and other factors.

Don’t forget to inquire about special flood insurance if you’re near a body of water. It’s a small price to pay for a big piece of mind.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Lastly, the silent budget buster: maintenance and upkeep. From water heaters to roofs, each component of your home has a life expectancy and cost associated with it.

Spotting signs of water damage, such as water stains or condensation on windows, can be a sign of larger, more costly issues down the line.

2. Resale Value

Historical Price Trends

It’s also smart to look back to predict the future.

Historical price trends in the neighbourhood can indicate whether your investment will grow. A neighbourhood with a consistent appreciation rate is like gold in the real estate world.

Projected Market Growth

And don’t just look back; look forward.

Projected market growth gives you a sneak peek into the potential future value of your home. An experienced agent can help you understand these trends and what they mean for your investment.

3. Market Conditions

Buyer’s Market Indicators

Knowing if it’s a buyer’s market is crucial. This means more homes are available than buyers, which could mean lower prices and more room to negotiate.

Expert agents can spot these conditions and guide you on when to make a move.

Seller’s Market Indicators

Conversely, a seller’s market means the homes are few, and buyers are many, often leading to bidding wars and higher prices.

Trustworthy agents with expertise in the local market can prove invaluable in navigating these waters.

4. Property Taxes

Current Tax Rates

The current tax rate in your prospective neighbourhood will impact your monthly mortgage payment. When house hunting, pay attention to the listed property taxes, but don’t stop there.

Reach out to a qualified home inspector or a trustworthy real estate agent for an accurate estimate. This is important as these can sometimes differ from the actual amount you owe.

Historical Rate Changes

Property taxes aren’t static. They can fluctuate based on municipal decisions and other local financial needs. A history of significant increases could signal rising costs down the line.

This can potentially affect the affordability of your home in the future. It’s a good idea to look at the past few years to spot any trends.

5. Homeowner Association (HOA) Fees

Monthly/Annual Fees

These fees are common in planned communities and condo complexes, and they can vary widely. While they may cover useful services and amenities, ensure they fit within your budget.

Sometimes, what seems like a dream home can become less desirable once hefty HOA fees are factored in.

Included Amenities and Services

Don’t just look at the fee; look at what it affords you. Amenities like a community pool, gym, or lawn maintenance can be worth the extra monthly cost.

Services such as trash removal and water may also be included, which could offset some separate utilities. Always ask what the HOA fee covers, and consider if the amenities align with your lifestyle needs.

6. Size and Layout

Room Count and Dimensions

Square footage matters, but so does the distribution of that space. A home might boast extensive square footage yet lack an extra bedroom or office space that suits your needs.

Experienced agents will tell you it’s not just the size but the allocation of space that truly makes a house a fit.

Overall Flow and Functionality

The layout is about more than just aesthetics; it’s about how the space functions for your lifestyle. Whether you need a child-friendly or pet-friendly environment, the flow from room to room should accommodate that.

And let’s not forget about ample storage space. Outdoor storage spaces for your tools or seasonal items can be just as important as indoor closets.

7. Condition of the Property

Age of the Home

The age of a home can speak volumes about its character and the maintenance it may require. Older homes may have a certain charm, but they can also come with the need for kitchen remodels or mould repairs.

Renovation Needs

Renovation needs should be factored into your budget. Spot foundation issues or signs of water damage early could save you from major issues down the road.

A quality home inspector can help you identify potential plumbing issues or the risk of mould. They help ensure you’re aware of any extra investments needed for repairs.

8. Home Inspection

Structural Integrity

A qualified home inspector is your best defence against hidden structural issues. They will spot signs of foundation problems and assess the solidity of the construction.

A rock-solid home is not just about durability but also about safety and longevity.

Electrical and Plumbing Systems

The inspector’s role is also to delve into the less visible but critical aspects of the home, like electrical and water pipes. Untreated water leaks or outdated electrical systems can become costly problems if not addressed.

9. Energy Efficiency

Insulation and Windows

Energy efficiency has a direct impact on your utility bills and comfort. Inspect the insulation quality and look for condensation on windows — it can be a telltale sign of energy loss.

Custom window treatments may add aesthetic value, but the real worth is in their ability to conserve energy.

Appliances and Heating/Cooling Systems

Modern, energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems can mean lower energy bills. It could also mean a smaller carbon footprint.

Be sure to check the age and condition of these systems, as replacements can be expensive.

10. Location

Proximity to Essential Services

When you’re looking for your new home, consider how close you are to essential services.

This includes hospitals, grocery stores, and even the local fire department. A trustworthy agent can provide advice on which neighbourhoods have the best access to these services.

Neighbourhood Appeal

The appeal of a neighbourhood is subjective but critical. A neighbourhood consistent with your lifestyle can influence your satisfaction with a home.

Plus, the school district is a major factor. Pay close attention to school ratings, as they not only affect your family’s education but can also impact the resale value of your home.

11.  Neighbourhood Dynamics

Noise and Activity Levels

The vibe of the neighbourhood should match your personal preference. If you prefer a quiet atmosphere, a noisy neighbourhood near a bustling commercial area might not be for you.

Conversely, if you thrive on activity, a sleepy suburb might not cut it. A visit to the neighbourhood at different times can provide a clearer picture of what to expect.

Traffic Patterns

Traffic can impact your daily life significantly. A neighbourhood safe from heavy traffic can mean less noise pollution and a safer environment for children to play.

It’s also worth considering if there are any construction projects planned in the area that might alter traffic patterns.

12. Transportation

Public Transportation Access

Easy access to public transportation can be a huge plus, especially if you commute to work or enjoy the city’s cultural amenities.

Look for nearby bus stops, subway stations, or train lines that can make your daily commute or weekend outings more convenient.

Commute Times

The time it takes to get to and from work can impact your quality of life. A home with a shorter commute time can mean more time with family, for hobbies, or just relaxing.

Be sure to test the commute during rush hour to get an accurate sense of what you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis.

13. Legal Issues

Title Searches

A clear title is the cornerstone of property ownership. Conducting a title search with the help of expert agents ensures that there are no hidden surprises.

These surprises include unknown heirs laying claim to your property or easements that affect your usage of the land.

Outstanding Liens or Disputes

Unresolved financial obligations like liens or disputes can turn this journey into a nightmare. It’s paramount to resolve these issues before proceeding.

Qualified home inspectors and experienced agents can often provide or recommend specialized services. These professionals are there to help you identify and deal with such problems.

14. Homeowner Association (HOA) Regulations

Community Guidelines

HOA guidelines dictate how you can use your property and what changes you can make. Understanding these rules beforehand is essential to avoid future conflicts.

Trustworthy agents can guide you through the HOA’s do’s and don’ts, ensuring that your new home meets your expectations.

Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants can protect the neighbourhood vibe but can also limit your freedom to alter your property.

Make sure you agree with these covenants before purchasing. These are legally enforceable and can impact everything from paint colours to the type of curtains you hang.

The Key to Your New Front Door

Finding the perfect home is a journey filled with anticipation and excitement.

In your quest for the perfect abode, let Maverick Group be your trusted companion. As top realtors in Airdrie, we don’t just offer houses; we present you with homes that echo your dreams and aspirations.

Our experienced and expert real estate agents are dedicated to turning your visions into reality. We will ensure every box is ticked, from the solidity of the foundations to the joy of the neighbourhood.

Contact Maverick Group today, and let’s embark on this life-changing journey together. Your dream home is just a conversation away.

Derek Timmons

Derek Timmons

Derek is a top performing REALTOR® in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada. Aside from knowing the market, he uses his knowledge and experience in construction to help clients understand exactly what they’re in for when buying and selling real estate.

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