Even after the turmoil seen in recent years, buying a home  is still considered one of the major financial milestones in life.
Choosing a home, though, can be fraught with pitfalls, especially if you want to get the right home for your situation. Buying a fixer upper might work for some people, but is it really the right choice for you? And what about purchasing the best home in the neighborhood? Is going high end the right decision?
It all depends on where you’re at, and what you expect to do with your home. Kim Clark, the owner of Bayside Realty Consultants, offers some things to think about as you attempt to find the right house for your situation:
On Buying a Fixer Upper
One of the trends in real estate investing  is to buy a rundown house and then fix it up. You can flip the house for profit, or just fix it up the way you want it. The nice thing about a fixer upper is the fact that it’s often cheap.
But don’t just go cheap unless you know what you’re doing. “If the property is in a good area, if it is rundown but doesn’t need major structural renovations, then fixing it up can be quite profitable,” says Clark. “Make sure your estimates are true estimates and not guesstimates. The last thing you want to do is get into a property when you think it will be one number and it turns out to be much different.”
Also, make sure you realistically judge your ability to fix up the house. If you plan to make most of the upgrades on your own, make sure you can do a good job.
Does It Make Sense to Buy the Best in the Neighborhood?
When my husband and I were shopping for a home, we didn’t want to buy the best home in the neighborhood. How could we sell it? Instead, we looked for a home that was roughly middle of the road.
But there are times when it might make sense to buy the best home in the neighborhood. “When it suits your needs, above all else, is when you should do it,” recommends Clark. It makes sense if you are going to stay put, and you don’t want to make it about resale.
“If you are thinking about it only for resale, don’t,” says Clark. Buying the best in the neighborhood won’t do you any favors if you want to flip the house or build equity for later. “You might have a problem finding a buyer later on…And be prepared to put a lot of money down.”
Other Considerations When You Buy
As with most personal finance situations, it’s all about what works for you and your situation. “Location is number one,” says Clark. After all, you need to take into account schools, local community, and amenities, depending on what’s most important to you.
Clark also recommends that you consider your budget and your must-haves. Figure out what you absolutely need, and make sure it fits your budget. “If you can find a house that has at least 75% of what you want, go for it,” says Clark. “You will never find the perfect house unless you make it yours.”
(Photo: garann )