There is more to a successful house hunting experience than spending hours on line looking at as many houses as possible. Or driving in endless circles viewing every open house.  Knowing what to look for and how to select the right home will streamline your search.  And your approach to this process can make all the difference.

While  there are a number of essential elements to consider when shopping for your new home focusing on what is most important to you will make the journey a success.  The factors which motivate your decisions should include; location, price and your budget, amenities, what fits your lifestyle, your needs and wants, along with your long term goals.

LOCATION. LOCATION, LOCATION

Undoubtedly, the greatest factor to consider when buying real estate is location for a number of reasons.  First is the overall vicinity of the home.  Is your new home near your place of employment or at least allow for a reasonable commute?  Is it in a good neighborhood?  Does the area support your lifestyle and have the infrastructure you desire?  Look at the overall appearance of the other properties in the subdivision.  Are they maintained?  Is the neighborhood inviting?  Second, functionality.  What are your future plans?  Look towards the next 5, 10 or even 15 years.  If your needs change, will your new home be able to adapt to those changes?  For a young couple, a family might be in their future plans.  For a family schools or sport activities might be a factor.  Are you looking for a home to take you into your retirement years?

KNOW YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS

Before you get in your car to view any home make a list of all the features you need from your new house, those things you are unable to do without.  For example, a certain number of bedrooms, a den or home office, 3+ car garage, formal living room or dining room.  Then think about those things you want, the 'nice-but-not-necessary' items.  Making this list will give you a sense of what you can and cannot live without.  With this in mind you will be able to keep your search in perspective and make a good decision whether the house will fit your lifestyle.

IT'S ALL RELATIVE

When viewing a home be objective.  Try not to be so focused on a single aspect of a home that you overall look or justify its short comings.  Perhaps a house has great curb appeal.  However, the interior condition is less than ideal and requires repairs or updating.  That might be a cost your budget cannot afford.  Also, separate the cosmetic changes you may find less than desirable, such as paint, light fixtures or window treatments, from the structural needs of a home like foundation cracks, water damage or termites.  The cosmetic items can more than likely be easily changed.   With the proper planning and research your house hunting can be an exciting and productive experience.