How to choose the right home for you

Bethany Lyttle

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Wondering what makes a house truly a home for you? We’ll share some tips to consider in your home-shopping self-interest.

For example, size isn’t everything: small square footage can be beautiful when it comes to the right fit for the family and furniture in your home. It also makes sense to buy now and customize later. Make sure you like the floor plan first, too, and don’t focus only on finishing touches.

Read on for more expert advice to help you make a smart choice for your next home.

Don't expect perfection

“It's nearly impossible to find a perfect house,” says Pat Trainor of Coldwell Banker of High Country Realty. “And it's rare for a buyer to walk into a home and say it's perfect in every way.” So think in terms of how you can make this your perfect home by making a few changes to the things you don't like.

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Buy a life, not an address

No matter how lovely a home is, if it doesn't fit your lifestyle, it won't make you happy in the long run. If you're a hiker, a charming house near the city's center won't be a good match. If you love to cook, a lovely house with a tiny galley kitchen will eventually disappoint. And if you're big entertainers, a house without decks, a big yard, and lots of room to park will become a frustration.

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Include new furniture in your costs

Often, a new house feels like a new start and you'll want new furniture to fill all those pretty rooms. Keep this in mind as you calculate your costs. If money's an issue and you're choosing between two houses, choosing the one that will accommodate your existing furniture can be a wiser choice.

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Choose a floor plan, not the finishes

“You can change out finishes, such as tile, paint and countertops, for less money than changing a floor-plan. Choose a house with a dining room, kitchen and living area that are the right size for your life, then tweak the finishes later,” says Cindy Jones of Crawford Olson Real Estate in McCall, Idaho.

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Don't choose based on investment

For most people, a house is also a home—a source of comfort, safety, happiness, entertainment and well-being. A home that's a great financial investment is only a smart choice if it satisfies your need for home comforts, as well.

See more ways to decide if a home is right for you.