1. Choose between location and space.

More important than the fun frills and fancy upgrades, the biggest deciding factor in your house hunt will likely come down to price versus location. Would you rather have a quick commute to work everyday or more land out in the country in exchange for a longer daily drive? It’s crucial to determine which of the two is your priority before starting your search to save yourself the stress of deciding between two totally different “dream homes” down the line.

2. Don’t commit before you’re ready.

Buying a home is a huge milestone and an exciting achievement! Try not to let the rose-colored glasses alter your decision making abilities. Take the time to think things through before writing that huge offer or saying yes to a home that only fits two of your top ten “must-haves”. The market is hot and homes are selling quickly, but self-control and patience will pay off when you finally find the perfect fit.

3. A down payment is never a bad investment.

No buyer in the history of home buying has ever said they have too much down payment money. In addition to the obvious benefit of having a smaller monthly mortgage payment, a sizable down payment minimizes your risk factors and lets you start off on the right foot with some equity. If you’re having trouble finding funds, take a look at our five secret sources of down payment money and apply them to your budget.

4. The school district will affect your home’s value.

Even if you don’t have kids, be sure to check out the public school district for your neighborhood. The quality of a school has a huge impact on the resale value for homes in the community. We recommend taking a look at the Ohio Department of Education’s Report Cards and seeking out trustworthy testimonies from parents and alumni of the district. Within the Greater Dayton area, nine districts are ranked among the Top 100 in the state of Ohio, including OakwoodCentervilleBellbrook, and Springboro.

5. Set aside some cash for home improvements.

Set aside a couple hundred dollars in anticipation of the inevitable - even if you’re building a brand new house. From a leaky faucet to a broken furnace, we want to make sure you’re financially prepared to take on the obstacles. If you wouldn’t consider yourself a fixer upper, we recommend including a home warranty as part of your purchase contract. We’ll recommend our favorite providers and ensure that you’re getting a good deal.

6. Make sure renovations are professionally done.

Saving a penny now could end up costing you a quarter later. From the post inspection period and beyond, make sure that any major repairs are completed by a professional contractor using quality materials that are meant to last. Easy hacks and DIY quick fixes are great for minor issues, but shouldn’t be applied to every aspect of your home. A few mistakes we see often: using glue when you should use a screw, using clog cleaner would you should call a plumber, and using a hammer when you should use a mallet.

7. Secure financing before falling in love with a house.

We get it - the pre approval process is not the most glamorous activity in the world. Who wants to spend time crunching numbers when there’s house hunting to be done? It’ll be a test of your patience, but taking time to see what’s out there instead of frantically accepting the first offer you receive could save you tens of thousands of dollars in monthly payments in the long run.