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How to Find Your Dream Home

For the majority of home buyers, finding and deciding on the right house is often the most difficult part of the buying process. People debate about what they want versus what they need: "Is the kitchen big enough? We love this house but the school district is wrong." Here are a few things to keep in mind to help simplify this process:

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First ask yourself, "How much house can you afford? Knowing what you can afford will greatly narrow your search to homes within your budget. The basic rule of thumb is that no more than 28% of your gross annual income should be applied to your mortgage, insurance and property taxes. Also it's a good idea to make a list of expenses you’ll have when you become a homeowner, including homeowners’ association fees, property taxes and private mortgage insurance, and factor in costs associated with continued upkeep and maintenance.

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Secondly, honestly ask yourself, what type of home do you want? Some people want very large homes, some want small, others want modern styles, and others want traditional- What features make up the ideal home for you and your family? Conversely, what features would eliminate a home from your list of prospects? Knowing what you want, and don’t want, will help you focus your search on homes that fit your needs.

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Location Location Location!

Choosing real estate is more than whether you want to live in the city, in the suburbs or away from it all in a rural area. Your neighborhood matters. Whether you want a house in a great school district or one that’s convenient to health facilities, or within walking distance to great nightlife, defining the qualities of your ideal neighborhood.

Deciding on location also ties with your lifestyle. Single home buyers may have different needs than married buyers, or buyers with children, and all of these groups have different needs than retirees looking to downsize. Your current stage of life, as well as your desired lifestyle, often influences the types of areas and neighborhoods that appeal to you. Once you determine your priorities, you can focus your home search to only those that match your desires.

Once you've defined what your ideal home will be, it will be much easier to for you to know a home is right for you on that first showing!