How Do I Know What House to Buy?

By Arlene Isenburg on May, 17 2022
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Arlene Isenburg

So, you want to buy a house? Great! Now what? If you have already worked through the process of determining when to buy, it’s time to take a look at what to buy.

From high-rise condos to log cabins to sprawling ranches, there are endless properties to choose from, so how can anyone hone in on which one is best? Ruoff has found that with a clear vision, some pre-planning, and a little luck, that perfect pick might be more obvious than you think.

Things to Look for When Buying a House

There are so many things to look for when buying a house that the whole process can feel overwhelming at times. When approached in a point-by-point manner, though, the hunt for a new home becomes more manageable – even enjoyable! Before ever stepping foot on property, create a must-have checklist to keep yourself from entertaining options that ultimately fail to fit your wants and needs. A solid checklist should include, at the very least, the following options, along with any additional items you simply can’t live without.


Location When deciding what house to buy, most folks have a general idea of the area in which they desire to live. Aside from the zip code itself, it is also important to understand the type of location that works best. Are you a neighborhood person or would you rather preserve some privacy? Do you prefer a small yard or a larger parcel? Is condo-style living your thing or would you rather purchase a stand-alone structure? Do you like the downtown hustle and bustle or crave a quiet cul-de-sac? Once you’ve zeroed in on the overall geography of what you have in mind, your search becomes much smoother.

Price Point One of the easier things to determine (but by far the hardest to stick to) is the price point at which you want to stay. Realtors want to know what your financial window is when purchasing a property, and it is important to set realistic numbers for both agents and yourself around a maximum price. Searching for homes above your means brings frustration after you return to properties at or under your spending limit. These pie-in-the-sky properties set unrealistic expectations for those within your range as the more affordable houses typically do not contain the bells and whistles of those beyond your budget. Set a reasonable minimum and maximum price point and then stick to it.

Upkeep Before closing the deal, get really honest with yourself on how much upkeep is too much upkeep. The larger the home, the more time-intensive the maintenance becomes. This goes for the yard, as well.  When it comes to deciding on the perfect property, examine your skill sets. How handy are you? How much do you enjoy outside chores? What level of home improvement projects really lie ahead? Are you equipped to handle a fixer-upper? Answer all of these questions to evaluate your level of excitement on the home’s ongoing needs before making any final decisions.

Clean Inspection Only experienced homeowners should consider taking on properties with troublesome home inspection reports. If you are newer to the world of home ownership, it is usually best to say good-bye to a house with a problematic inspection. Even small issues can turn into giant problems when not addressed, and costly fixes can wreck your budget - fast. When searching for that forever home, it is advisable to lean toward a relatively clean inspection report unless you are fully confident in remedying the issues at hand. 

The “Home” Factor This final point is far less tangible than the others. This factor has to do with how a house actually feels. Upon entering the property, do you feel at home? Can you envision yourself and your family inside? Can you see future holidays and gatherings around a kitchen table or living room? If your future self looks contented lounging in the den or drinking coffee in the breakfast nook, then there’s a good chance you have found the place!

House hunting can be stressful, especially in a seller's market. But by sitting down ahead of time and focusing on a list of must-haves and must-avoids, the whole picture starts coming into focus. Can you already picture it? Let Ruoff help turn that house into your next new home.