“The first step in getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want”
This is one of my favorite sayings. I think too many people go through life without planning it. And, that statement reminds me: man plans, God laughs. However, back to the point, I believe we should all approach life with a plan. We should think through what we are trying to do, what steps we need to take to help our kids get to a certain spot, how we want to live our life, and the list goes on.
One of the areas where we actually think through what we want is in housing. We realize how much a house impacts our lives, and we usually think through the implications of our actions. Examples of the areas where housing impacts our lives include:
Financial – We do not want a payment that forces us to do without the other important things in life. We need a house that does not always need expensive maintenance. We have to have a new car, and the kids have to go to college. Housing cannot consume it all.
Schools – We all want the local schools to get our kids ready for college or a trade or just generally lead a productive life. We also want the schools to offer a selection of students that help provide the right kind of peer pressure.
Neighbors – Our neighbors may be our best friends or never come out of their house. They may have the best parties, the pool everybody visits, and just the right tools.
Commute – We all know our commute will impact the size of our house, maybe the number of stories, possibly the quality of schools. If you travel weekly, you will consider how close you are to the airports. And, it is always difficult to think about finding a new church.
Health – You consider your doctor’s and maybe your hospital’s location, whether you can climb the stairs now and maybe into the future.
Social – Many people will consider the level of social activities close to their neighborhood. I know I want to be near good restaurants.
So, how do you think through these issues? Are you an artist or an accountant? Do you create a spreadsheet to compare and contrast neighborhoods or houses? Or, do you just know if when you find your new home?
There is of course no right answer for everyone. The answer is always one tailored to you and your needs. So, work with a REALTOR or other advisor to find a mortgage banker to help you decide what you can afford. Then, look at neighborhoods that fit your financial profile. The Houston Association of Realtors and many REALTORS can help you locate neighborhoods that fit financially and can help you find school ratings, and social and medical centers. Once you have narrowed your choice to one or two areas, you are ready to start searching for your dream home.
Of course, for many the biggest decision is timing. Do we wait for that bonus or raise? Do we wait for the economy to improve? Many people are deciding now is the right time. How about you? What are the factors most affecting you?