This is the second part of a series directed at new buyers thinking about buying a home in the Iowa City area. You may be relocating to Iowa City or a first time home buyer. Or you might be downsizing after living in the same house for many years. Whatever your reason, this series is designed to give you an idea of what’s in store when you’re new to the process of buying real estate in the Iowa City area. We started out by covering the importance of talking to a lender to get pre-approved before you go looking at homes. Today it’s time to look at your Wants, Needs and Wishes List. This list will contain factors about your new home that are absolutely necessary and others you can compromise on. Before you start looking at homes you should at least have some idea of what you’re looking for. The alternative is viewing any and all homes and even though that might sound exciting, it gets old really quick! After looking at 10 homes that are of zero interest to you that you’ll feel like packing the whole idea in and staying put!
Your Wants Needs and Wishes List
Location – How to Figure Out Where You Want to Live
The first thing you want to address is the factors that are set in stone and absolutely necessary to your quality of life when you buy a home. Location is top of the list on this one. If you’re a buyer relocating to Iowa City you won’t know the area, but you do know where you will be spending your days and where you need to commute to. I’ve helped dozens of relocating buyers in the last few years and haven’t met anyone yet who wants a long commute to work!
Staying on the topic of deciding a location for your new home. If you have young children this will play a major role in where you want buy a home. In fact when it comes to deciding on a location for your new home you should consider all the amenities you need to be near to on a daily basis. Schools, parks, grocery stores, fitness centers. Whatever is important to you. I for instance live in Coralville. When I relocated to the US my husband worked in Cedar Rapids and my sons were students at the University of Iowa. This was a perfect location, close to the Interstate for the commute to Cedar Rapids and a real easy 10 minute commute to downtown Iowa City and the UIOWA.
How to Decide What Amenities You Need in a House
At the same time you’re thinking about WHERE you want to be you should be looking at what amenities you need in a home itself. Condos and low maintenance living are popular choices for Residents relocating to Iowa City. Not surprising considering their busy work schedules. If you have children you’ll probably want a yard and the condo idea falls flat. In fact if you have children the bedrooms become a much bigger issue too. Where do they need to be? If you have small children you’ll want them on the same level. If they’re older they may want to weigh in on the decision and having their own space may be more of a factor.
How Location Affects Price in the Iowa City Area
Iowa City is a very transient town and many of the buyers looking for homes will be relocating to Iowa City. For that reason I want to touch briefly on home prices in Iowa City. Just like any other area, school districts have a big impact on home prices in Iowa City and can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood.Add the University of Iowa and the UI Hospitals to the mix and you have two additional factors that impact pricing in a big way. If your goal is to find a nice little house or condo close to downtown and within walking distance to the UI or UI Hospitals for under $150,000, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. The chances are slim to none. When you make your list you need to be aware of the reality on the ground and adjust and tweak your list accordingly. It’s a list. You can change it any time. What this part of the process does is get you thinking about what’s REALLY important to you and what isn’t.
Buying a home in the Iowa City area is a major commitment under any circumstances. Prior planning will go a long way to making you more comfortable about the decisions you make on the way to homeownership. Choosing a good buyer’s agent to represent you in this major endeavor is also something you should thing about up front. It’s easy to get completely caught up in the idea of looking for a house. It is after all a life changing event and the agent who helps you is really of secondary importance when you first start thinking about buying a home. What you don’t know when you’re starting out is that the agent you work with will have a direct impact on the quality of your real estate transaction. It’s worth putting a little of your time finding the right agent to work with. It will be worth your while in the long run.
The next step in the home buying process is Step 3: Finding the Right Home