If you’re thinking about buy a home, the first thing you should do is focus on exactly what you're looking for. Start by establishing your priorities in these three areas:

  1. Location: How will the location of schools, shops and transportation affect your choice of neighborhoods?
  2. Personal tastes: How large a home do you need? What style of architecture do you prefer? On what kind of lot?
  3. Budget: How much home is wise for you to own?

There is also the question of whether or not to buy a new home. New homes tend to have more spacious living and family rooms, and they’re generally easier to maintain. However, many homes built years ago offer more total space for the money and larger yards. Taxes may also be lower.

Many people are charmed by the character of an older home, but deterred by potential maintenance costs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Home Protection Plan gives you a safety net for unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.

Finding the right home for you

There is no set number of homes you should look at before you decide to make an offer on one. The perfect home may be waiting for you on your first visit. If it isn't, the house-hunting process will help you get a feel for the homes in the community and create your “short list.”

If you're looking in more than one community, try to make the most of each house-hunting trip. Stop by the local chamber of commerce to pick up promotional literature. You can also ask your agent for welcome kits, maps and information about schools, churches and recreational facilities.

The mortgage calculator below will help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment. Simply enter the price of the home, your down payment and loan details to calculate your monthly payment.