May 13, 2021 at 4:51pm | BBHST Admin

By Kyle Spearin

The home is often underestimated as a stationary family member. Think about it; it protects you, offers you shelter and warmth, is there for you every day, and sometimes has its own failings. We grow to love every little quirk about our homes as we bring them to life with our own possessions, preferences, décor, and experiences lived between their four walls. 


However, while you don’t get to pick your family, you do get to pick your home. While many elements will influence your final decisions, there are few more important than budget, personal preference, location, and in-person experience. 


Work out your budget


When it comes to purchasing a house, your budget is usually your only limiting factor. Naturally, then, it’s vital that you know what you can reasonably afford rather than what your lender or mortgage broker suggests you can afford. 


To do this, you’ll first have to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Your DTI is a numerical representation of how much you spend on recurring debts per month. The math is simple:


  1. Add up the gross total of all your yearly debt payments from personal loans, student loans, rent, car payments, etc.

  2. Take the resulting figure and divide your debt obligation by your total pretax household income.

  3. Divide by 100, and you have your DTI as a percentage.


What now?


Your lender will take your DTI into account when offering you a loan. A DTI below 50% is generally preferred, while anything above may hinder your chances of securing a loan. 


So, if your DTI is high, you might be faced with a considerably lower budget than first expected. 


Write down your preferences


Homes come in all shapes and sizes, with a wealth of features to be found within. Ever since renovating rather than bulldozing became trendy, there’s a wealth of homes to choose from. However, there are still certainly some common-sense home features that offer day-to-day satisfaction. While you might have something completely different in mind for your dream home, we’re going to list out the current top “makes sense” architecture preferences for your inspiration. 


Single floor


You heard it here first; one-tiered homes are back in style. Not since before the second world war have we seen such a high and swiftly-growing demand for homes without stairs. And it makes sense. One-floor homes are practical, especially for families or expecting couples.


High ceilings


Now that you’ve eliminated the top floor of your home, it only makes sense that you’d stretch the bottom floor out a little. In fact, 9-foot ceilings can completely transform your home from uninspired and oppressive to spacious, freeing, and regal. However, it’s up to you what your ideal ceiling height may be.


Outdoor spaces


As we trundle towards a remote world, it’s likely we’ll be spending more of our afternoons working for home. Patios, decks, and lush lawns offer us the luxury of living outdoors while the sun shines. Moreover, you can enjoy a peaceful family barbecue while having the same sunsets. Keep an eye out for homes with exterior sockets and electrical features. 


Garden


Not only can a garden done right bring the invaluable asset of curb appeal to a home, but it can also offer a place to enjoy, exercise, relax, and provide fun for all the family (and pets, of course!)


Storage


While getting carried away with the larger design features of a home, it can be easy to forget about the smaller, hidden ones. However, when we’re unpacking, we’ll quickly learn just how indispensable these storage elements are. Take some time to look for storage units such as closets, cupboards, and drawers to pack away your belongings out of sight.


Decide on the area


In the US, we know that everything can change about a neighborhood from one place to a ten-minute walk down the street. What might have started as an area with high crime rates and little to no local amenities could become a safe location surrounded by everything you could ever desire within a matter of steps. 


So, as a general rule, location is vitally important to finding your ideal home. 


Safety


Naturally, you’ll want to know how secure your home and safety will be in your new neighbourhood, here’s some things to consider:


  • Crime statistics -  Check how any area within the US weights up in terms of crime here.

  • Neighborhood watch

  • Street lighting

  • Talk with neighbors – Ask them questions about the locality to gauge how safe they feel day-to-day.


Schools


If you have a little one that you plan on enrolling in a local school, it’s in your best interest to enquire about the quality of the district schools. Be sure to find out the test scores of a school alongside any extracurricular activities or sports programs that they offer.


Local amenities


So, you’re cooking dinner and realize you’re out of salt, you can either forgo the salt or run out to the nearby grocery store and be back within 10 minutes. 


When you live near essential facilities such as pharmacies, department stores, and hospitals, life tends to be a little easier. Or, perhaps you find the quiet life of living far away from the hustle bustle of main streets to be favorable. Either way, it’s worth taking a look at the amenities that are nearby your property of interest.


Go look at homes


While “love at first sight” moments are shared among homebuyers flicking through listings, the only way to truly know if a house is for you is to experience what it’s like to be within it. That way, you’ll know if the floor creaks or if the lighting in the images is true-to-life. 


Of course, that is considering that the seller has decided to stage their home or offer viewings. If neither is available, be wary about making any further decisions on the property.


Refine your Likes and Dislikes


There comes a time where you have to sit down with yourself and ask, “What do I like?” You’ll be surprised to find that it won’t always be the trends or what your friends and families recommend. 


Perhaps you’d like a vast garden despite only planning on having a small family or none at all. Maybe you’d like to live miles away from all civilization and don’t care whether or not you’re within 10 minutes of your nearest shop – the ball is in your court.


Key Takeaways


Your ideal home will be a mish-mash of several elements that make it your special place. However, few homes have it all, so don’t be afraid to compromise on some features if you must.


The key to landing your dream home remains the same as ever: know your budget, and know precisely what you’re looking for. After that, everything should fall into place!

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