With buying season in full swing, there are lots of folks on the market looking for the perfect home. With so many beautiful homes to choose from in the greater Wilmington area, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing one that feels like home but will also make a great investment. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned pro, purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions you can make, and Network Real Estate is here to help you cover your bases.

Buying a home begins with figuring out your lifestyle needs. Before you even look at listings, make a realistic assessment about what you want out of a home. The number of people or children you have (or are planning to have), your financial standings, what you like to do in your spare time, and your ideal location are major factors in what kind of home is right for you. From there, figure out how what your dealbreakers are.

Do you think you (and your partner and/or family) will be more satisfied in a residential area, an urban area, or perhaps the beach? Do some soul searching and think about what will actually make you and your family happy, rather than going for the home you think you “should” be buying. Be sure to factor in proximity to good schools, commute time to you and/or your partner’s job, and how close the neighborhood is to the activities you enjoy.

Rather than thinking strictly in terms of square footage and the “bigger is always better” approach, we recommend deciding based on the number of bedrooms. Most two-bedroom homes are designed more with the needs of couples rather than families with children, so those who have or are planning to have kids should look for at least 3-4 bedrooms. It’s also worth mentioning that the number of bathrooms can make a big difference in the functionality of a home—1.5 or 2 bathrooms is a convenience factor usually worth paying for. Another pro tip: high or vaulted ceilings can make a home feel much larger than its square footage, as can lighting and layout. So be sure to stop by open houses to see how the home looks and feels rather than relying on measurements.

One of the biggest mistakes homebuyers make is going for the perfect-looking home rather than the home that makes financial sense and is structurally sound. Even if the house looked amazing when you toured it (and it was staged to perfection), except that it will look different once you move your belongings in. A house with all the bells and whistles but with plumbing, electrical, or foundational issues can lead to buyer’s remorse. To make the smartest investment, assess the home’s intrinsic value. Remember that aesthetic factors such as wall color, light fixtures, faucets, and carpeting are relatively easy and cheap upgrades after you’ve purchased the home.

The biggest favor you can do yourself when shopping for a home is to get a home inspection. A professional inspector will know what to look in terms of foundation, plumbing, and electrical, and will be able to assess any existing issues.

We have a talented team of real estate agents here at Network, and we’re happy to help guide you through the process of buying your home—whether it’s for the first time or last. Contact us today to get started, or search for your new home today!