Buying a home in Thousand Oaks or anywhere in the Conejo Valley.

Developing a reliable profile for your dream home before you begin looking at homes can clarify your priorities and simplify the process. Here is a simple way to build your own dream home profile.

Consider your lifestyle

When you buy a home, you are buying a lifestyle. For instance, when you buy a home that is thirty minutes away from the office, you are implicitly committing to a lifestyle that includes one hour of commuting every day. When you buy a home with a big yard, you are committing to spend a lot of time gardening (or hiring someone who does). For this reason, it is important to think about your home in the context in which you will be using it. How will your home affect the church you go to, your daily exercise routine, and the friends your kids spend time with? Consider as many lifestyle variables as possible when developing your criteria.

Fixate on the permanent

When you are looking for a home, it is important to remember that some things are permanent and some things can be changed. Don’t get caught up on the ugly carpet or the out-of-date wallpaper; they can be easily replaced. On the other hand, an annoyingly narrow hallway is part of the core structure of that home. If it bugs you now, it will drive you crazy once you have been living in the home for a few months. Fixate on these permanent elements of the home: location, floor plan, school district, homeowner association, tax rates, etc.

Make two lists

To develop the criteria for your home, you will basically need to make two lists–one containing your needs, and the other containing your wants. On your needs list, you should have only the two to five items that you absolutely cannot live without and cannot change once you move into the house. On this list, you might have things like: large kitchen, close to my child’s school, and a breathtaking view. Your list of wants can be a much longer list and should contain all the things that you would like your house to have (even if they conflict with each other). On this list, you might find things like: long driveway, close to a major shopping center, walk-in closet, tile roof, newer appliances, and so on. Now, use the first list to eliminate properties and the second list to rank properties. In other words, when you look at a potential property, you can first look to see if it matches all of your needs. If it doesn’t, discard it, since you are not willing to compromise on those three items. Once you find a few properties that match all of your needs, you can begin looking at your list of wants to see which property satisfies the largest number of meaningful wants. This is a very logical and effective way to evaluate and rank potential homes.

Evaluate locations carefully

Real estate is often said to be about the “three Ls: location, location, location.” But there are several important (and often overlooked) things to consider when evaluating a location. The local economy is among the most important things to consider. Are new businesses moving into the area, or are established businesses closing down? A growing economy usually means appreciating housing values. Next, consider the overall cosmetics and age of the neighborhood. Have most of the homes been redone in recent years, or are they aging badly? Keep in mind that every time one of your neighbors mows his/her lawn or paints his/her house, your property value goes up a little. Of course, the reverse is true as well. Next, consider the public and community amenities. Are the parks well kept? Are the schools highly rated? Is the crime rate low? Take a look at upcoming ballot initiatives to see if the blank lot across the street is the site of a future library or a future landfill. All of these factors will play a role not only in the enjoyability of your home, but in its long-term value. Finally, consider location issues that are unique to the area. For instance, in many areas surrounding beaches and lakes, some properties are given first choice of boat slips, which increases the value of those properties substantially.



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