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7 Things to Consider Before You Buy Real Estate

Ryan Fitzgerald's picture
how to buy a house

Before you start searching homes for sale online we recommend you consider 7 things that may impact your decision, and will potentially save you time and effort.

Keep in mind there are a number of potential mistakes you can make when buying a home.

Knowing this information upfront and having a plan ahead of time will definitely help you become an efficient home buyer. For instance, we had one buyer looking at homes for sale in Holly Springs, NC and it wasn’t until a few months after we started previewing homes that she decided she couldn’t deal with the rush hour traffic. This made sense to me, and to be honest, I probably should have asked upfront that she make the drive during rush hour to see if she could handle it.

Sometimes, as Realtors, buyers and sellers we can assume things that would have saved us time and effort had we considered them earlier on.

Most buyers begin their real estate search online. This search typically begins very early on in the home buying process, sometimes even 2+ years before they purchase. When searching homes for sale online it can be dangerous because you may be looking more at the pictures of the homes as opposed to your actual needs and criteria.

When you’re searching homes for sale, and preparing to buy real estate there are a lot of things to consider. You’re probably a bit overwhelmed by all of the options you have when buying a home, and it makes sense to narrow things down before you get serious.

Here are 7 things to consider before you start searching homes for sale online:


Location, location, location. There is a reason why location will have the biggest impact on price point. You can take the least expensive home in the world, drop it in the middle of Manhattan and it’s worth millions. That’s because of it’s location.

Before you start searching homes for sale online you’ll want to be absolutely positive on a location. Knowing this ahead of time is extremely important because buying in the wrong area is one of the biggest mistakes buyers can make.

What it means to be positive on a location is to pin-point an exact area. Picking Raleigh, North Carolina as your location is not pin-pointing on an exact area. If you said you wanted to be less than half a mile from Downtown Raleigh, on the east side, west of Raleigh Blvd., north of New Bern Ave. and South of Rte. 401 you would have an exact location.

Another reason picking a location before you start searching homes for sale online is because you’ll see different kinds of homes, in different price points, in different locations. This is going to confuse you. You’ll want one of the homes you saw in Wake Forest, only you want it in the city of Cary for the same price. This just isn’t possible in Wake County.

School District

One of the first things you should do once you have picked a location is figure out what school district it’s in. This goes for everyone, even if you don’t have kids in school because if you plan to sell one day, you may end up selling to someone who does have kids. A great school district will also increase the price point of your home so pay special attention to school districts.

For our web visitors searching for Wake County real estate we have created search functionality that includes searching by school district (elementary, middle, high school).

A lot of people love this feature because often they pick the home based on the school district it’s in. This makes it easy once you have picked a school to stay up to date on real estate listings that hit the market in that specific school district.

Often overlooked is the access to educational universities. For instance, in the Raleigh area there are several great universities including Duke (located in Durham, NC), University of North Carolina (located in Chapel Hill, NC), and North Carolina State University (located in Raleigh, NC). Access to these schools will increase your property value simply because the schools will attract so many people to the area.


The Neighborhood you want to live is another thing to consider before you start searching homes for sale online. Are you looking for a neighborhood with a community pool or even a golf course? If so, you’ll want to immediately rule out the neighborhoods that don’t have the amenities you’re looking for!

There are certain neighborhoods that have a desirability factor attached to them that will increase their price point. For instance, if you’re shopping homes for sale in Cary, NC you probably know that the Preston neighborhood is one of the most desirable, and highest priced neighborhoods in the area.

Visit the Home During Rush Hour

This tip comes directly from a personal experience (as I mentioned earlier in the article) that we had at Raleigh Realty. Our buyer spent a couple months looking at real estate for sale in Holly Springs, NC only to decide she didn’t want to deal with the traffic coming out of the Raleigh-Cary area.
The traffic isn’t terrible, however it’s easy to understand how someone who has a short commute would not like the 30-45 minutes of being in the car on the way home each day.

This is why before you start shopping homes for sale online, you should consider driving the area during rush hour. If you leave work at 5pm, what is it like driving from your office the location you’re considering?

If you find that the commute is something you cannot handle, you’ll have saved yourself a lot of time and effort by not continuing your home search in that area!

Ignore Paint and Landscaping

Two of the bigger cosmetic issues we tell buyers to NOT consider are the paint and landscaping. These are two of the easiest fixes when purchasing a home for sale. The location cannot be changed and thus you need to find what you can change easily. This includes paint and landscaping.

If you find an incredible home, at a great price, and the pain/landscaping needs work you should still buy it!

You have to be able to overlook some cosmetic issues, especially when you can buy the property, fix those simple cosmetic issues and instantly have built equity in the home.

Homes Inspection

I’ll never understand why anyone wouldn’t have a home inspected, and many people choose to forego a home inspection.

If you choose to forego a home inspection you’re putting yourself at risk down the road for potential issues such as foundational problems, roof leaks, or even having to replace the plumbing!

You should always consider having a home inspection before you buy real estate.

Storage Space

Storage space is often overlooked when buying a home for sale, and it’s one of the best features of a house. If you don’t have a place to put stuff away your home can quickly go from organized, to a house filled with stuff.

If you’re looking to buy a home you may want to take measurements of where the refrigerator will go, the couch, the beds, etc. You don’t want to assume that there is enough space, and then when you go to move your stuff in realize it doesn’t fit!

A lot of people wont realize how important storage space is until after they begin moving their stuff in and that’s ok. Hopefully this article will help those who are considering buying real estate to look at storage space prior to purchasing!


The number of things to consider before buying real estate is large. It will take a lot of work prior to seeing homes in person to find potential houses to buy. Once you have put together those potential estates you still need to consider everything else, including a home inspection and storage space to make sure you will be happy with your decision!

If you have the time, you should read everything you can about mistakes buyers make, and helpful tips when buying real estate. A lot of what you will read online will save you time, money, and make you a much more efficient home buyer!

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