Buying a new home can be a dream come true for many families. It will probably also be the biggest investment you will ever make in your lifetime. Not only will a home provide a sense of security, but it will also be the primary inheritance you will leave behind for your children.
But above all, buying a home is an investment that must be carefully planned and budgeted. That means you might have to push aside your dreams and take a good hard look at reality.
For example, what is your current situation, and do you expect it to change in the future? Are you a couple without children? Do you have school-aged children? How many? How old are they? If it is just you and your partner, remember that it's important for each of you to have your own quiet space to call
Do you have family members with physical disabilities? If so, you may need extra space for special equipment. What are your hobbies and interests? Does this mean having a large backyard that can accommodate a pool, or a large living room for a home theatre system? Do-it-yourselfers might want a large garage or basement for their workshop, and artists might want to have a large, bright attic to work in. And don't forget to make sure that you have ample bedrooms and bathrooms!
You also have to consider your finances. How much can you really afford to pay for insurance, taxes, utilities and a mortgage? Don't forget to factor in the cost of maintenance and unexpected repairs. If you cannot afford to properly care for your home, its value will surely decrease over the long run.