Your current lifestyle is as important a factor in home buying as anything else. You might be ready to change your lifestyle. Or you might not. But one thing is for sure, some things will change once you buy a house. The trick is choosing the right home in the right location, to make those changes positive ones.
Before you embark on the home ownership journey, look at how you currently spend your time today. Then estimate how you are likely to spend your time once you own a house (and even when you have kids). There are numerous things to consider, and more will arise as you go along. (Read: Lifestyle Changes for First Time Home Owners)
Maybe you're dreaming about country life. Perhaps your heart belongs in the city. Prioritize what means the most to you, and you’ll be on the right track.
How Much Time Do You Spend at Home?
Are you a homebody? Or do you spend most of your free time out and about? How you answer this will help you determine where you want to look for a home, and how much home you want to buy.
People who prefer to dine out regularly, spend weekends traveling, and rarely spend more than a few hours at home each day probably don’t need a big house in the country or even the suburbs. A smaller home, maybe even a condo, near activities is probably a better choice.
But if home is your haven and you look forward to more of the same, then you might be ready to spread out and enjoy a slower pace and more square footage. Homes that aren’t in the thick of city life are less convenient when you want to see a show or go to a museum. But if those activities are rare, the extra drive won’t be a hardship.
Do You Participate in Activities or Belong to Groups?
If you have a busy schedule, you’ll need to consider how time consuming a house can be. Home buying should include some thought on whether you’re committed to participating in group activities, volunteer programs, or even play on a sports team. (Read: Lifestyle Choices & Home Ownership)
Older homes often need a lot of maintenance. Homes with a large yard need mowing and raking. If you’re already as busy as a bee, look for a home that needs less regular attention or a condo where the homeowner association handles landscaping. If the idea of spending weekends weeding, mowing and making small repairs sounds like your idea of heaven, then there are joys to be had from owning a bigger home with a nice yard or a bit of a fixer upper.
Is Your Home Buying Area Close or Convenient to Work?
Home buying means you’ll almost certainly alter some parts of your current lifestyle. But one part of your life that’s not so easy to change is your workplace. Commuting can take minutes, hours, or anything in-between. It all depends on location.
The best house in the best neighborhood might not be the right move if your commute to work turns into an hour-long (or longer) ordeal. Think about how much time you’ll spend in your vehicle Monday through Friday.
That said, some home owners are lucky enough to have public transportation, and commute time isn’t as hectic. For others, a long drive is peaceful and something to look forward to.
Home buying is one of the toughest, scariest, happiest, and most exciting times of your life. Because emotions run high, it’s easy to get carried away by the allure of something that’s not really right for you in the long run.
If you chart your course early, long before your heart is set on that cottage in the country or row house near the city, you’ll have a much clearer view of the grand scale. That’s the best way to make a commitment that you won’t regret in a year or two.
Are you planning to buy a house, or recently bought one?
What were your most important considerations?
We’d love to hear about them!
Looking For More Home Buying Tips?
- Who's On Your Real Estate Team?
- Let Your Monthly Budget Be Your Home Buying Guide
- Finances & Making Sure You're Ready to Buy a House
- What's the Right Down Payment on a House?