Like many other important decisions we make in life, buying a home is something not enough people put enough thought into. Sure, the typical prospective homebuyer will focus on the things he or she wants, but these elements may or may not be the ones they ought to be focused on the most. Rather than picking your new home simply by going with the most square footage for the lowest price, it’s imperative to consider several other key factors. These factors are as follows:

Community

We hate to refer to a tired cliche, but there’s a reason why everyone says real estate comes down to “Location, location, location.” As any successful SoHo, Chevy Chase, or Santa Barbara realtor will tell you, homebuyers aren’t just buying a place to live, they’re buying a stake in a particular community and the status that comes with it. School districts, crime statistics, and other community-driven elements of day-to-day life all play into the given value of a particular location. It’s therefore imperative for would-be homebuyers to factor the community surrounding a home into their final decision. Not only does a community play a big role in the price of a house, it oftentimes justifies the higher price by virtue of the many benefits offered to residents when compared to properties located in other communities.

Amenities

The age and performance of various appliances and other amenities included with the house should be assessed prior to making any final decisions. Are the dual wall ovens in working order or do they need servicing? How about the upstairs shower and guest bathroom toilet? While it’s neither necessary nor polite to test out every appliance and plumbing fixture in the house, it’s equally unwise to overlook them as key factors to consider in the home buying process.

Construction

We don’t expect the average homebuyer to be well-versed in the nuances of home construction, but there are some basic things to look for which can save you the trouble of having an inspector discover down the road. For instance, how does the roof look from the ground and from any available perspective provided by upstairs windows? Walk around the perimeter to give the foundation a quick once-over to spot potential cracks or signs of shifting. While they aren’t the only important elements of a home’s construction, the roof and the foundation are the caps holding it all together from two ends and are therefore the most important.

“Under the Rug”

If you’re buying a home, chances are it’s being sold by someone who wants to make a profit – as much profit as possible. This is not surprising, but it’s something to consider when you think you’re falling in love with a particular house. Sellers will do whatever it takes to make a property look its best, which may mean concealing problems and covering up cosmetic failings wherever and whenever possible. Be on the lookout for them. While some spackle, a new coat of paint, and perhaps a new carpet is all it takes to fix many of these hidden problems, others may prove more extensive in nature and therefore more costly to repair.

Cost-Benefit

Finally, it’s important for people to look at a cost-benefit analysis before choosing a home. As mentioned earlier, the biggest floor plan for the lowest price doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option available. What about the value of the community, as well as the quality of the construction? How do the appliances compare to each other? Which elements of a home that you want today are ones which will remain relevant in several years, and which ones are likely to be inconsequential as time goes on? Is paying more for what seems to be less really a bad break when all these additional factors are considered?

Ultimately, it’s important for homebuyers to avoid developing a case of analysis paralysis, which serves as the polar-opposite problem of being too naive during the homebuying process. Be cautious and considerate when looking for a new home, but don’t let the numerous factors at play get the best of you. In the end, all you can do is absorb as much information as possible in order to make the best choice possible. Give it a go and it’s sure to lead you to the home of your dreams.