By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Home buyers may be so swayed by the home’s appearance and price that they may be missing out on researching some other important factors about the home that may keep them happy there for years to come. Articles in U.S. News & World Report and the Community Associations Network highlight some of the most common areas that buyers’ are overlooking in their home purchases.

Some of these overlooked areas include:

1. Nearby zoning. The surrounding area of a home or neighborhood can change drastically through the years so home buyers shouldn’t always assume that what they see today is what they’ll get a few years from now. Green picturesque landscapes outside their windows may one day be replaced by a row of retail stores or major highway? On the other hand, sometimes change can be viewed as good, such as a recreational park or school nearby.

To avoid unhappy surprises, though, home buyers should investigate the zoning of any vacant properties near them to give them more of an idea of what the future may hold.

2. Remodeling interference. Home buyers may have big plans for the home they want to buy, but are they sure they’ll be able to do everything on their list? Homeowner association’s may have something to say about home owners who want to change their exterior. They also may have something to say about additions, like adding a garage or a guest house, or even what type of plants you use in your front or backyard. Any home buyers with lofty remodeling goals may want to check with the community or homeowner association beforehand to make sure their plans will be allowed.

3. Sight, sound and smell. Home buyers might want to tune in to any noise that may pose a problem for them in the neighborhood, such as by visiting the home at several different times of day and night. Maybe it’s all quiet in the afternoon but there’s a loud dog barking next door all evening? Also, how’s the traffic at different times of day? The neighborhood may become a cut-through to commuters during rush hour … will that pose a problem?

And finally, home buyers shouldn’t forget to pay attention to the smell. Depending on which way the wind is blowing at certain times, you might pick up a whiff of a manufacturing plant or waste-processing facility.

So buyers should be encouraged to use all five of their senses in deciding the right home for them, and not forget that long-lasting happiness with a home purchase is much more than fancy upgrades.

Looking for a home is a process that needs…. to fit the buyer’s lifestyle and comfort zone. Drive by the neighborhood, talk to neighbors….get a feel for the area. Most important of all is working with a professional Realtor who knows the community…..guidance, expertise and knowledge is important when purchasing one of life’s most expensive purchases.
There are 2 kinds of Real Estate Professionals….those who understand the emotional and financial complexity of buying a home….and those who don’t.
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