Buying your first home is one of the most exciting and costly actions you’ll likely take in your adult life. Doing it right takes time. Finding a home — one that fits your current and future needs in a location that you love — isn’t always easy.
Before you scour the internet and talk to real estate agents about buying a home, there are a few things to consider. Whether you’re in your twenties or your fifties, be sure to ask about these five important factors when you buy your first home.
Buying a Home Near Local Services
While many homebuyers consider the location of a new home as it relates to work, school, and shopping, many forget to think about a home’s location to local services such as hospitals, fire stations, police departments, and sewer treatment plants.
For instance, living near a police or fire department may make you feel as if you’re in a safe neighborhood. However, the traffic activity and noise associated with these facilities can be disruptive to everyday life, especially at three in the morning when sirens blare. Additionally, living too close to a sewer treatment plant or refuse dump can be problematic, as odors occasionally emanate from such facilities, particularly during the heat of summer.
While it’s important to be within a reasonable distance of public safety services, you may not want them right across the street. Drive around the neighborhood during the day to see where services are and their proximity to the home. Then drive around at night to get a sense of how comfortable you feel there after hours.
Whether to Buy a Home Near an Airport
If you’re a frequent flyer, you may believe living near the airport is beneficial, and it can be. However, be sure to investigate peak traffic patterns to determine how they will affect your ability to get to and from your home.
You’ll also want to notice the airport noise level in your new neighborhood, whether you live near an airport or not. Neighborhoods farther away from an airport can still be in air traffic patterns and have to deal with the noise of airplanes routinely flying overhead.
Additionally, give some thought to air pollution. A study published in a 2014 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology suggests that heavy airplane traffic can pollute a significantly wide area around an airport and that you may receive more pollution from living near an airport than from road traffic.
Property Taxes on Homes in the Area
Taxes are often one of the things that homebuyers forget to question when they shop for their first home. So caught up in the cost of the home loan and monthly house payment, taxes don’t always come into the discussion until closing.
Also, many times there are tax breaks available to homeowners in certain cities and counties throughout the country. For instance, Clark County, Nevada (home of Las Vegas), offers veterans and disabled veterans tax breaks on personal property (home or car). Veterans who wish to obtain this exemption only need to take a copy of their DD214 or discharge papers to the Clark County Assessor.
Many villages have additional “village” or Township” property taxes as well if you live within the boundaries of the town. Make sure you check the taxes of the home you are thinking of buying before you make the leap!
Typical Cost of Utilities for the Home
The cost of buying your first home comes with more than just a monthly house note. Owning a home may require you to pay homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, homeowners’ insurance, maintenance costs, property taxes, and utilities. Sevices may include electricity, water, gas, reclamation, and trash pickup, depending on where you live.
If you’re unfamiliar with the area, be sure to get the names of the utility companies along with the average monthly cost of each service for your new home. Doing so will help you to understand more thoroughly the real monthly cost of owning a home.
Buying a Home Near a School
Buying a home in a great school district is one thing. Buying a home across the street from a school is quite another. Just like with the airport scenario, it might seem convenient to live across the street from a school, but the noise and traffic can become bothersome. Additionally, consider what happens once your child graduates.
A better option would be to buy your first home within walking distance of the school. When you’re ready to sell, you’ll be able to market your home to families as well as empty nesters who may not want to live near a school.
Buying your first home can be exciting as well as challenging. Know what you need to know, including finding out about these five important factors.
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