7 Things to Look For When Searching for Homes

Whether you’re an experienced investor or a first-time home buyer, it’s safe to say that purchasing real estate brims with exhilaration. From the opportunity to obtain a fresh start to the chance to elevate your quality of living, a new home isn’t just a tangible, real asset: It’s oftentimes a whole new lease on life.

In the flurry of excitement that arrives with thumbing through listings during your online home search, you might all too easily overlook what genuinely matters: A home that will offer you a great standard of living, earn you a profit if it will be used as an investment, and possess resale potential. With all of this in mind, expert realtor Kevin Lam has compiled this list of factors to look for when eyeing homes in the region you’ve chosen. Read on for his top tips, and then enter the market with conviction and confidence.

1. Proximity to highly-ranked schools

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If you don’t have children or your own have flown the nest, you might balk at this suggestion. And yet, data demonstrates that homes located near excellent schools sell faster than those that aren’t, and they also bring in a significantly higher asking price. Translation? The home you purchase now will have admirable resale potential if and when you choose to sell it in the future. Neighborhoods that are near top schools tend to boast terrific amenities and appeal. And if you do have children, you’ll be in luck: The opportunity to gain a strong education will be only a short walk or car ride away.

2. Location

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“Location, location, location” is frequently repeated in real estate for a reason: Where a home is located can make or break your satisfaction and either increase or derail its value. In addition to stand-out schools, you should prioritize the neighborhood’s proximity to parks, open spaces, shops, restaurants, public services (such as a community swimming pool or fire station), and medical facilities. If you are commuting, take this into consideration as well. Additionally, and just as importantly, scout out the vibe of the neighborhood to see if it jives with your own. Lastly, inquire with your realtor about the neighborhood’s future. Are there plans for a commercial building that will take away from its charming energy or demolish the views? Have there been foreclosures in the area that might affect the home’s value? Remember: you aren’t just purchasing a home. You’re also investing in a community.

3. Sufficient square footage

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Homebuyers have a perfectly understandable tendency to get caught up in a home’s number of bedrooms and bathrooms. While the appropriate number of rooms is imperative, the overall size of a home is the most vital.

If you plan to stay in your new home for the foreseeable future, be realistic about the changes you might encounter. For example, working from home may become a possibility, so you may want an office to perform your tasks rather than answering emails in a tight space next to the washer and dryer. There might also come a time when your parents will stay or live with you, which may mean investing in a home that includes an in-law suite. Consider all of this carefully, and work with your realtor to determine the number of square feet your family may require.

4. Appropriate distance

Privacy is coveted whether you purchase a townhome, condominium, sprawling estate, or cottage. Examine the distance you will have from your neighbors and if it will provide you with enough space to feel comfortable.

5. Natural light

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You can do plenty with interior lighting, from replacing old fixtures to incorporating dimmers for softer illumination. The amount of natural light a home receives, however, is a completely different matter. A surplus of direct sunlight, particularly in the summer months, can lead to substantially higher energy costs, fade your furniture, and render reading or working in certain rooms impossible. An ideal amount of natural light, though, can make a tremendous difference in your daily life. Examine the home’s orientation on the property and aim to visit it at different times of day before putting in an offer.

6. Lifestyle opportunities

You might be an avid cyclist who becomes immediately smitten with a home that possesses extraordinary vistas or a jaw-dropping master bathroom, only to realize that it would be a half-hour away from the nearest biking trail. Or, you may have a penchant for entertaining, only to learn that the HOA has strict guidelines on noise levels. You might be a passionate gardener, and while the home itself may be lovely, there are few opportunities in the yard to grow the flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs you desire. In other words, search for a home that suits your unique personality and lifestyle, as you want to seek out a residence that will nourish and amplify your chief interests.

7. Move-in ready potential

Unless you’re specifically scouting out investments to flip or have always dreamed of working on a fixer-upper, searching for a new home that’s move-in ready should be near the top of your list of priorities. A home that requires a new roof, a complete upgrade on appliances, or substantial repairs to its flooring can rob you of time and energy and make you second-guess your decision. This is one of the many reasons why an inspection contingency should always be included in your purchase offer. In return, you’ll know for certain what changes or repairs must be performed before you can waltz through the house’s doors and jumpstart your new existence.

If you’re perusing Kirkland, WA, real estate or exploring Seattle homes for sale, Kevin Lam will be your sounding board, expert voice, confidante, and guide. He has extensive expertise throughout the greater Seattle region and will steer you toward homes that will offer you a fantastically luxurious lifestyle. Book a consultation with him today to discover the life that awaits you.

*Header photo courtesy of Kevin Lam

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