1. The neighborhood at night. Neighborhood’s change at night—it’s a fact. At least, most of them do. Drive through your prospective home’s neighborhood at night and around the home itself to see if there are any college students or dogs barking nonstop or things of that nature.
2. The daily commute. Even though Google Maps may say it takes a certain amount of time to go from point A to point B, drive that route yourself during the busiest time of day to make sure you’re not stuck in a commute that’s longer than what you bargained for.
3. The CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions). Just because a neighborhood doesn’t have an HOA doesn’t mean they don’t have CC&Rs. I’d argue that if you have an HOA and valid CC&Rs, that’s the best of both worlds because there’s a standard of living for the people who live there and they’re not governed by an HOA.
4. Whether the home can be rented out or not. Some HOA neighborhoods don’t allow certain properties to be leased out, especially on a short-term rental basis.
5. The bedroom-to-bathroom ratio. If you buy a single-story home, always buy a property with at least two or 1.75 bathrooms. Buyers in the future will want that. If it’s a two-story home, I recommend that you have a powder room or a half-bathroom on the main level. That’s another thing future buyers will look for.
6. The need for specialty inspections. Home inspections are a must. However, if they red-flag something or tell you that you should look at something a little bit closer with a qualified inspector, we highly recommend you do that.
7. Features that cannot be changed. The two most important features that cannot be changed are location and lot. It’s very important to base the foundation of what you’re looking to buy off of these two factors.
8. The resale value. If your home backs up to a busy street, just because that doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider whether it will bother a large part of the buyer pool when you sell the home in the future. Know what kind of adjustments or discounts you need to make when it comes to factors like that so you buy the home correctly and at market value.
9. Whether there is room to grow. When it comes to this, you want to know your lot setbacks, the zoning of your lot, and if you have load-bearing walls. If you want to knock down a wall to open a room up, you’ll want to check with a specialty engineer if that wall is load-bearing. If so, it can still be done, but it might cost a little more.
Our team does our best to check all nine of these boxes when helping our buyers buy homes. If you have any other questions about buying a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.