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couple with house keysThis is the next post in my series discussing what first time home buyers should know about the real estate process in Dayton, Ohio. My previous post provided guidance with regards to finding a qualified real estate agent. In this post I will be providing tips for narrowing down homes to view using search tools, and suggest certain factors to consider when deciding if a certain house is ‘the one.’ Contact me today to speak with a real estate agent.

Having a budget and a preferred zip code will help Dayton area buyers narrow their housing search

Beginning a housing search can be overwhelming. Utilizing some type of online search tool, whether it be through the MLS or a service available to the public such as Zillow or Realtor.com can automatically weed out homes that you are not interested in. Using these tools properly can save a homebuyer a great deal of time and frustration. But first the buyer needs to know what they want.

Buyers must start their housing search with a price range. Your budget tells you how much house you can afford, and may play a role in which  areas you decide to buy. Higher budgets may allow for newer construction houses, houses that are ‘turn key’ ready, and houses with more luxury amenities. Looking at homes outside of one’s price range only leads to frustration, so it is best to start with the list of homes you can afford.

Location is the second most important thing to consider when narrowing down a housing search. The Dayton metro area actually includes three separate counties, and includes a number of suburban communities such as Kettering, Centerville, Beavercreek, Springboro, Miamisburg, Huber Heights, Bellbrook, etc. The Dayton proper area is made up of a number of neighborhoods such as Shroyer Park, South Park, the Oregon District, St. Anne’s Hill, Belmont, Walnut Hills, and downtown Dayton. Each location offers its own pros and cons, and deciding where one wants to live depends on their own preferences and lifestyle.

For many people, school districts are an important factor in where they wish to buy a home. Buyers must do their own research when it comes to gauging the “quality” of a school district and deciding if it is where they want their future or current children to attend. Tools such as the Ohio Schools Report Card can help a home buyer make these decisions. Another location issue people may want to consider is if the house fits the needs of a particular lifestyle. The buyer may wish to consider their commute time to work, where the house is in location to restaurants and entertainment, the relative closeness of neighboring houses, the average lot and yard size of homes in the area, the neighborhood’s walkability factor, the house’s location to parks, bike trails, etc. Buyers may wish to visit several neighborhoods prior to a serious housing search and determine what area best suits their needs, personality, and preferences.

Personal needs, styles, and tastes, determine if a Dayton house is worthy of an offer

Once you have determined your budget and location preferences, your housing search will be narrowed down considerably, and will feel less overwhelming. The next factor to consider is, how long do you plan to live in the house and how big does the house need to be. If a couple is planning to have children, they may wish to buy a house bigger than their current needs to accommodate a larger family. Or if they view this home as a ‘starter home,’ they may be happy with fewer bedrooms or an unfinished basement. Knowing how many bedrooms and bathrooms a family needs, and how much ‘entertainment’ space you prefer, will help you begin to put  your final parameters into the MLS or other search tools.

Once a price range, general area, and number of bed and bathrooms have been put into your search tool, you will be given a list of homes to consider. Now is the time to ask your real estate agent to go view these homes in person, walk through them, and try to visualize if you could picture your family living in the house. Now a buyer may think about their secondary wants and needs, such as a garage, big yards, large kitchen, a fireplace, specific layouts, closet space, etc. A buyer may also wish to consider future maintenance or remodeling issues, such as the age of the furnace and HVAC system, the quality of the roof, the draftiness of the home, if the home requires new carpet or paint, the ‘datedness’ of the interior, etc. Different buyers will have different tolerance levels for homes that need ‘work.’ If a buyer loves a home but is concerned about maintenance costs or remodel repairs, they may wish to speak to their agent about negotiating a home warranty with the seller, or talking to their lender about including remodel costs into their loan.

When viewing Dayton area homes, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect house. Each home you look at will have a list of pros and cons. Considering the magnitude of the purchase, this can cause many people anxiety. To help stay focused, it can be helpful to make a list of three things most important to get in a home, and three deal breakers that the buyer cannot tolerate. This may help a buyer decide if they can live with a perceived ‘flaw,’ in an otherwise acceptable home.

If a buyer is not able to find a home they wish to place an offer on, they have a few options. One, is to delay their purchase of a home until more inventory comes onto the market. Second, is to open their search up to other neighborhoods. And third, is to increase their budget- if possible- and save up for a larger down payment. Searching for a perfect home can be both parts exciting and frustrating. But by going through these steps, and keeping one’s expectations realistic, every buyer can find a future home to grow their family and make memories in.

Contact me today to speak with a realtor. I also service Beavercreek, Centerville, Clayton, Englewood, Oakwood, Fairborn, Harrison Township, Huber Heights, Kettering, Miami Township, Miamisburg, Riverside, Springboro, Trotwood, Vandalia, Washington Township, West Carrollton, and Xenia.