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Becoming selective when purchasing a home

Start by making a list of your home-buying wants and needs, and rank them in order. Then, decide where you're willing to trade off. © istockphoto.com/Justin Horrocks Start by making a list of your home-buying wants and needs, and rank them in order. Then, decide where you're willing to trade off. © istockphoto.com/Justin Horrocks
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By Jim Sulski, Studio One Networks

Worried about the possibility of rising mortgage rates, a couple decided to end their home search by choosing a house from among three prospective candidates they had looked at.

They chose a modest wood-framed two-story home. While the house was conveniently close to a school, it lacked the big backyard and the two-car garage they had hoped for. It had other shortcomings as well.

Because they focused on the mortgage interest rate, the couple was less selective with their home purchase, a decision that would haunt them over the years as each shortcoming became more glaring. It would also fuel their buyer's remorse.

Being selective when purchasing a house isn't a bad thing - although it can get out of control. But how far should you go?

Start by making a list of your home-buying wants and needs, and rank them in order. Then, decide where you're willing to trade off.

For example, if you have children, being near schools and parks may be more important than being close to restaurants and shops. On the other hand, there are neighborhoods where homes are near both schools and commercial districts.

Other parameters to consider include proximity to your job, public transportation, and cultural and recreational opportunities. And then there's the type of home you would prefer: Are you hoping for an older home with historical charm on a more urban street, or a newer home at the end of a cul-de-sac? And how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Also consider the value of the home and how much it may appreciate.

And then there's price. Getting pre-approved for your home loan at the start of your search should give you an idea of what you can spend on a house.

Finally, don't be pressured into a decision by your real estate agent. Tell your agent clearly not only why a particular house may not be right, but also how close it is to the mark.

But don't be too picky. There is no such thing as a true dream home. If you're willing to compromise and give up a few items on your priority checklist, you'll find a house that suits you and your budget.

Copyright (c) 2008 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

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