Which Factors are Important in Your Home Search?

Which Factors are Important in Your Home Search?

  • Yvonne Summerfield
  • 08/27/22

Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or have owned properties for decades, there is always a thrill when making such a large purchase. However, finding the perfect space for you and your family can also be stressful — especially with so many options.

How can you guarantee you’ll make the best decision when buying your next home? Consider your top priorities during any home search to understand your wants and needs.


One of the biggest regrets homeowners of all ages have is their location.

As you explore the neighborhoods of Santa Rosa Beach to decide which will be the best fit for you, you should weigh a variety of factors. This can include everything from the area’s walkability or bikeability to the types of stores within a five-minute drive. Although these things may not initially seem important, they become critical after you’ve lived in your home for a while.

For example, someone who values convenience and efficiency in their daily routine won’t be happy with an hour commute to the nearest grocery store. Someone else who prefers quiet evenings at home might not want to live downtown.

School district

Are you looking to live near some of the best Pensacola Beach schools (or other school districts in the surrounding area)? Those who have children and teens should prioritize proximity to various schools when searching for a new home.

Much like the last factor to consider (overall location), how close you are to a particular school or school district has the power to change your daily routine radically. Before making an offer on a home, make sure you’re on board with your child attending a nearby school. Map out bus routes or note how long the drive or walk to school will be. If you have a child who is about to graduate to the next level of schooling (e.g. elementary school to middle school), also be sure to consider these schools as well.

Age of the home

It’s important to consider the age of a property for several reasons. First and foremost, the older the home is, the more upkeep and maintenance it will need. Although there are some exceptions on the market (such as older homes that have been completely renovated), these are few and far between.

Properties that were built in the 1990s and earlier will most likely have at least one repair project. This can be anything from an HVAC replacement to a total roof replacement. If you have your heart set on an older property, ask as many questions as possible, and do not skip the inspection. Try to become an expert on the property before making an offer to ensure that you don’t take on any surprises.

Monthly costs

Too often, individuals get excited about the low estimated monthly mortgage payments touted on various real estate websites. While these calculators are valuable and can provide a glimpse of what to expect, they are by no means comprehensive.

Get an accurate, up-to-date idea of what you will actually be paying each month. Ensure your estimated figure factors in the downpayment you plan to put down, insurance, taxes, and private mortgage insurance (PMI). Ask about the estimated monthly cost for utilities and community services (e.g. electric, water, trash pickup, gas), and HOA dues, as these can vary significantly by location.

Types of insurance

Insurance in coastal Florida — and around the country — can be tricky to understand. To hold a mortgage in select locations, flood insurance is a requirement on top of standard home insurance. Even if flood insurance is not technically required in your area, it is important to know that standard insurance does not cover flooding events. A seasoned real estate professional can answer all of your questions about what types of insurance you need when moving into particular neighborhoods.

Commute time

A surprisingly overlooked consideration when buying a house is commute time to work. Obviously, those working from home do not need to make this consideration. However, if you have to go into the office for any amount of time, be sure to map out your commute.

In addition to asking your realtor about estimated commute times, you can also monitor traffic congestion in real-time on Google Maps.

Repairs needed

Buying a new home means accepting all responsibility for its care and upkeep. Through thick and thin, you will need to handle all minor and emergency repairs in a timely fashion. This is why it is essential to understand what repairs currently need to be made. You should also ask what repairs are anticipated in the next one, five, and ten years.

Ask your realtor about the condition of the foundation, roof, heating and cooling system, plumbing, and so on. If possible, see if you can obtain maintenance records from the current owner or at your city’s planning department. This will give you an even more accurate and detailed picture of the types of repairs you can expect in the coming years.

Noise level

Florida’s beaches come with a wide array of environments. You’ll find everything in the coastal areas, from quiet suburbs to lively tourist destinations.

As you consider which home and neighborhoods best suit you, try to get an accurate idea of the daily noise levels. Ask about what it is like to live in the community and if some select events or seasons have a different noise level. Doing this research in advance will save you headaches and frustration down the road.

If you’re thinking about buying a home in coastal Florida, contact Yvonne Summerfield today. Named as a top real estate agent in the United States by the Wall Street Journal and as one of the top 15 agents in the country by RE/MAX, she has sold more than 750 properties since 2005. Yvonne will truthfully answer your questions and help you navigate the coastal Florida real estate market until you purchase the home of your dreams for a great price.

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As one of RE/MAX's top selling agents nationwide and worldwide, I am uniquely qualified to help you with your real estate needs along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. It is my privilege and goal to be of service to you, providing exceptional representation with the highest levels of integrity, discretion and professionalism. For over 20 years homeowners have entrusted me to represent them in over half a billion dollars in real estate transactions. I'm ready to help you with a purchase or sale by providing you with outstanding service and outstanding results.

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