Finding the right home

Before you begin looking for your new home, talk with your real estate agent about what you want in a home, why you want to buy a home and where you'd like to live. Also, consider sharing information about your lifestyle to help them assist you.

Ask yourself: Do you need to be near public transportation? Do you want a yard? Do you need to be within a certain distance from your job? What do you want from your community? The answers to your questions will guide you home.

Where do you want to live?

You’ve probably heard the first rule of real estate — location, location, location. It's a key factor in determining how much you can afford, how long your commute will be and your designated school district. When determining where you want to live, ask yourself:

mix of apartments and houses

Urban or suburban: Do you want the convenience and walkability of city life? Or do you want a larger home with a yard, away from the hustle and bustle of urban living?

roadmap with destination marked

Proximity to your job: Are you willing to make an hour-long drive to work, or do you want a short commute? Consider your current job and future opportunities.

commuter bus

Access to public transportation: Do you need access to public transportation to get to and from work, school or your primary health care provider?

What type of home is best for you?

If you're in the market to buy, you need to decide what type of home you want. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and the right one for you will depend on your finances, lifestyle and stage of life.

a 2 story house

Single-family home: Typically, these are the largest of the property types, providing you with the most privacy and space. If you buy a single-family home, you're responsible for every aspect of the home, which requires both time and money but allows you more control over your home and more privacy.

freestanding townhome

Townhome: Townhomes are often a good option for first-time homebuyers as they are more affordable than single family homes. They require little outside maintenance and many townhomes include amenities such as parks and playgrounds.

a manufactured home

Manufactured home: Today's high-quality, factory-built homes are comparable to single-family homes and offer features such as garages, permanent foundations and built-in porches. More affordable than site-built homes, they offer a good option for first-time homebuyers.

condominium building

Condominium: Condominiums can provide you with a maintenance-free lifestyle and are typically located in urban settings. They may provide access to amenities such as pools and fitness facilities, and they are usually within walking distance of shops, restaurants and public transportation. Note that the amenities and maintenance come with a monthly fee that you’ll need to factor in when determining what you can afford.

Your home wish list

Once you decide what type of home you want, you should establish your must-haves and your deal breakers. Think about your household now and how your needs may change in the future. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the possibilities, so consider creating a homebuying wish list to help you narrow down your choices.

Both your finances and lifestyle will play a big role in determining the type of home that's right for you. Stick with the must-haves that are most important to you and work with your lender to stay within budget.

Working with your lender