Are you looking for a home or thinking about building a home in the northwest Indiana area? This is a great place for families looking for starter or forever homes who want to be near Chicago for work, play, or both. Buying a home takes a lot of careful planning and consideration but when you know what to look for and consider, you can make the best decision for your family. Here are seven things to think about when buying a home.

Monthly Costs Versus Income

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Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’ve been around this block a few times, it can be very easy to look at only the big-picture numbers and forget about monthly costs. The monthly expenses of home owning are where the rubber really meets the road. Just because the mortgage payment works out with your monthly income, that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. Be sure to consider insurance costs, property taxes, utilities, waste management, and regular maintenance.

Remember that some home buyers can get approved for a much bigger loan than might be wise for their monthly income due to great credit. Don’t let the excitement of lots of zeros behind the dollar sign get you trapped in a tight monthly payment. Take the time to crunch numbers and consider all costs.

Local Schools

Do you have kids or are you hoping to have kids in the future? If so, local schools should be a major part of your decision regarding home buying. If you’re planning to go with public school, do some research to familiarize yourself with the programs and academic opportunities it offers. You might even consider setting up a tour.

Some families will choose to go the private or charter school route. This provides a bit more freedom with location, but you’ll still want to keep the daily commute in mind. If your children hope to be involved in extracurricular activities, remember that your commute might happen multiple times a day and on the weekends.

Yard Maintenance

Don’t forget about the day-to-day maintenance of a big yard. Is this something you’ll want to keep up with? Many homeowners enjoy caring for their lawns, gardens, and landscaping, but it can be quite a chore. If you want a nice, big yard with attractive landscaping but don’t want to do the work, simply look into local landscaping companies who offer regular maintenance. It’s important to remember the practical maintenance aspects of other yard features like ponds, pools, and vegetable gardens. These features can be exciting at first glance but they require continuous upkeep.

What’s the Local Traffic Like?

This is particularly important for homes with pets and children. Is the house on a busy street? If so, is there a closed-in backyard that can keep pets and kids out of harm’s way? You can certainly make living on a busy street work, you’ll just want to consider what that means for walking dogs, letting kids play outside, and safely getting to and from your car. Local traffic is also important when it comes to noise pollution. Some roads are major trucking routes, which means loud 18-wheelers might be regularly passing by.

Can I Realistically Handle or Afford the Repair Needs?

With so many home makeover shows streaming these days, it can be easy to get swept up in the idea of taking on a fixer-upper. Be careful when considering this kind of move. Some homes can have amazing bones and potential and may be worth the work but others can turn into a major nightmare. Consider the costs, both time and money, when it comes to the repairs a particular home needs.

Remember that there’s a big difference between major repairs like foundation work, plumbing, and electrical repairs and simple changes in flooring and paint colors. If you walk into a home and hate the paint colors and carpeting, those are easy fixes. Budgeting also comes into play here. If you want to take on a bit of a fixer upper but don’t have the skills, determine whether there’s room in your budget to hire a contractor to handle all the work.

Would it Be Better to Build?

If you have your heart set on a particular type of home in a particular area, you might consider building. There are lots of advantages to building a home in a developed neighborhood. You can often get the details and layout that you’ve always dreamed of in your ideal neighborhood when you choose to build. Many home buyers might assume that they can’t afford to build a custom home but there are actually a lot of cost-saving aspects of building. Why pay the same amount for a home that isn’t exactly what you want when you can design your own?

What Will Everyday Life Look Like in This Home?

Whether you’re buying an old home, new build, or are planning a custom build, you’ll want to take the time to consider what everyday life will look like in this home. What’s the work commute look like? How close is your favorite grocery store? Are there nearby activities and play areas for pets or kids? Can you walk to local amenities like libraries, coffee shops, etc?

Inside the home, think about the logistics of daily life. If you have a family of five, how many bathrooms do you think you need? How much space should the kitchen have? Play out a busy morning getting ready for work and school in your mind and think about how the space will practically work for your family.

Buying a home can be an overwhelming tax to take on with so many aspects to consider. Don’t get bogged down in the nitty gritty, let Steiner Homes come alongside you and provide professional guidance and support through this process. Our family-owned company has been serving the northwest Indiana area for many years and knows the ins and outs of the buying and building processes. Contact us as you begin your search for the perfect home. We’re happy to help.