10 Things to Consider When Buying A Home

By Jenna Ryan, Realtor

1. Location

buying-a-home-in-plano-frisco-mckinney-allen-melissa-celina-prosperThe location of your new home is paramount. After all, location is the number one factor for buying a home. You want a location that is good for your current needs, and your needs in the future. A home that is near your office, close to schools, in a safe environment near shopping and entertainment. There are many options in DFW for you to check out.

One thing that I’ve noticed when selling homes is that you want to be flexible on location. Many people, especially in this seller’s market, start out wanting one thing, and end up opening their minds to other options when they see what’s available. You can often get more home with more features a little farther out than you anticipated. The neat thing is, DFW is growing, so there are lots of intriguing places to live on the outskirts such as Melissa, Wylie, Lucas, Prosper, Celina and similar cities.

2. Construction

The construction of a home, of course, is very important. If you’re buying new, you want to make sure the builder you choose is reputable and builds a high quality product. If you’re buying an existing home, you want to make sure the home has a solid foundation that will last for many years to come. The foundation should be checked by your home inspector during the option period… and if anything looks suspicious, you may want to pay the extra money (around $500) to get the home inspected by a structural engineer. Many pre-existing homes in DFW have prior foundation damage and subsequent repairs made. If repairs have been made, it’s important that you obtain the transferrable warranty from the prior foundation company.

You will also want to make sure that all remodeling or home addition permits have been obtained and signed off on by the city.

3. Condition

The overall condition of the home is very important as well. This includes everything from the foundation (mentioned above) to the mechanical aspects such as the age of the roof, HVAC and hot water heater. You want to consider the condition of the fence, the pool equipment (if applicable), and all appliances. Your inspector will help you discover hidden problems in the home, and oftentimes you can negotiate for concessions with the Seller during the option period. However, the Seller is under no obligation to give you anything for repairs, and you could end up stuck paying for the inspection of a home you’re not buying… so buyer beware.

4. Price

You want to make sure the price of your home is right for the market. Your Realtor can help you determine the right price to pay for a home by running a comparable analysis of the homes sold in the neighborhood you’re considering. If you’re buying new, you want to make sure your Realtor negotiates the right price–don’t just pay the list price. Get your Realtor involved to make sure you’re not leaving anything on the table.

If you’re buying an existing home, your Realtor can do a competitive analysis to help you determine the price of other comparable homes in the area. If a home has no updates, it should (obviously) be priced less than a home with updates. If you pay top dollar for a home without updates, you will essentially be upside down the day you close on the home. That’s not good! You want to make sure you pay the right price, and a Realtor can help you do that.

5. Schools

Are the schools exemplary? This may be one of your primary concerns, however, it’s important to consider that there are more available homes in some areas with schools that are less than exemplary. In these districts, there may be less competition, and your child can come out in the top ranks… and have more chances to compete in sports and other activities. There are pros and cons to different areas and different schools. Also, just because a district has an overall mid-to-low-ranking, doesn’t mean that all the schools in the district are bad. Some schools in the district may be great. Likewise, don’t be swayed by a great district ranking without checking the rankings for the individual schools. Some great districts have low performing schools, so do your home work on each grade range.

6. Conveniences

When buying a new home or existing home, you want to make sure it is convenient for the things you do in your life. Example, you want to make sure the school is nearby so you don’t have to trudge through 30 minutes of traffic to drop off kids in the morning. You need a home that is convenient to restaurants, shopping and most practically–the grocery stores. You want to make sure that the area you are moving to either already has lots of entertainment, eating and shopping venues, or has plans in the works. Areas like Prosper, Celina, Lucas, Melissa are growing still and are catching up by building new stores, schools and parks. Make sure everything you need is located nearby.

7. Square Footage / Size

The size of your home is an important factor in deciding what home to buy. Depending on the size of your family, your needs and your lifestyle you will need to choose how much square footage works for you. The layout of the home is very important for maximizing the available space. According to experts, the New American Standard is having 1,000 square feet per person. Of course, this all depends on you. You may need to adjust the amount of square footage you need based upon your locational needs and your budgets. Nevertheless, everything is bigger in Texas. We have big houses available here, so you should have no problem finding one to accommodate you and yours.

8. Financing

Of course, before you can purchase a home, you’ll need to figure out how much you qualify for, and how much you can afford. In the current market in DFW, it is essential that you be pre-approved prior to looking for a home because you will not be able to go under contract without a pre-approval letter. If you’re considering buying a new home, but are not sure how much you can afford, we can refer you to one of our favorite lenders who can help you get the right financing option for your next home purchase.

9. Stigma

A stigma is something about the home that makes it less-than-desirable to people. This stigma may or may not bother you, but it could impact you when you go to sell the home. Things that make a home stigmatized include:

  • Water towers nearby.
  • Large church steeples or other objects behind it.
  • Busy street or corner.
  • Near power lines.

Any of these factors can decrease the value of your property, so consider that before buying. The idea is that it’s not necessarily bad to have these stigmas (if it doesn’t bother you), but it is very important to make sure the price you pay is adjusted to allot for the price you will be able to sell it for in the future. A home on a busy corner should be priced lower than a home in the same subdivision, around the same size that is on an interior lot with no traffic. So, it’s okay to buy property that’s stigmatized, so long as you get it for the right price–and the stigma doesn’t bother you.

10. Quality

Certain homes and neighborhoods are higher quality than others. The level of quality you will want in a home depends on your needs and your budget. If you have a very large family, want excellent schools and be close to shopping and entertainment, you may find it beneficial to buy a larger home in a lesser-quality neighborhood. The key is getting the highest quality home that fits your needs and that you can afford.



Jenna Ryan is a real estate Broker specializing in Frisco, Plano, McKinney & Allen Real Estate. She is a native Dallasite and lives in Frisco, TX. to arrange a tour of the area or to view the homes & property of your choice.