Johnston County Real Estate

Home Search Checklist

Searching for the perfect home in Johnston County or the Triangle can be challenging if you don't know where to start. Our home search checklist is here to help you evaluate all your options and determine what you're really looking for in your new place. And if you have any questions about JoCo real estate, feel free to give us a call—we'd love to chat!

Your Johnston County Home Search Checklist

Location: Find the perfect community

Even if you haven't settled on the type of home you're looking for, you've probably considered where you'd like to live. Would you prefer a big town with lots of activities, or something more secluded? A community surrounded by rolling countryside or filled with suburban ease? How important are nearby amenities, like shopping, dining, and other major attractions?

You’ll also want to consider where you’ll be working, and, if you have kids, where they’ll be going to school. The last thing you want is an unexpectedly long commute!

Baseline Criteria: Establish the big checkpoints

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is determining your budget or price range—and finding out how much you feel comfortable spending on housing each month.

You'll also need to hone in on your preferred home size and style. How many people will be living with you? Do you enjoy entertaining or hosting a lot of guests? What style of home can best incorporate these needs—single-family, townhome, or condo?

Neighborhood Features: Find your new niche

Even if you've chosen a specific town or area, you may want to narrow down your search to specific neighborhoods. Finding the perfect home is useless if you don’t like the community around it! Consider what amenities you might want or need in your neighborhood—like a community pool or walking trails, maybe access to a park or lake, or even a shopping center. Some townhome and condo communities will offer maintenance or lawn care (for a fee) to help cut down on your responsibilities as a homeowner.

You’ll also want to consider your neighborhood’s location within the town or community. Is important to be close to shopping, dining, and other amenities, or would you prefer to be a little more out in the country? Is easy highway access a must, or are you okay with driving on backroads?

Home Features: Establish your needs

Once you have a general idea of how to start your search, it's time to start making a list of your absolute needs. For example, you might require a garage or storage shed, or at least plenty of parking. If you have children or four-legged friends, a large, fenced-in yard could be a must-have. You might need at least three bedrooms for your household, or perhaps a quiet office area for your work. Whatever it is you need your home to have, make sure you establish a list before you start searching.

Home Details: Hone in on what you really want

You have the list of things you really must have in a home...but you’ve probably got some preferences for features you’d like to have, too. Consider factors like the type of flooring or HVAC system. Maybe the age of the appliances (or the age of the home as a whole) is important to you. You might have architectural style preferences or really want an open-concept floorplan. Take note of the features that you'd like to have, but don't necessarily need—they're important, too!

Dealbreakers: Determine what you can't have

You have your wants and your needs, but that doesn’t mean a home that hits every checkpoint on the list is a must-buy. Now, establish a list of criteria you simply won't have in a home. For some, a home needing repairs is a potential fun fixer-upper project, but for many, major repairs are a major no-no. What about minor repairs? Are there some things you’re willing to fix? Are old appliances a no-go? Is traffic noise or congestion a dealbreaker? Is a long or inconvenient commute to work or amenities not okay?

The Search: Look before you buy

Once you’ve established criteria, use an advanced home search tool to track down homes that meet only your specific needs (and maybe wants, if the list is still long). Read listings carefully and review pictures to decide which homes check off some of your criteria...and which you can eliminate.

Next, if at all possible, view the home in person. Online photos can be deceptive and words can be misleading. Does that close-up of the front hide the home’s proximity to neighbors? Does "convenient" or "centrally located" mean "surrounded by traffic" or "overrun with people"? If you can, tour a home twice—once to get a first impression, and twice to really go over the details and make sure you still feel the same way.

The Inspection: Watch out for any unexpected surprises

Just because a home looks perfect from first glance doesn't necessarily mean it's free of any issues! Before you make an offer, you'll want to walk through and carefully inspect the details of a home. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Windows, flooring, and ceilings that are older or in poor condition
  • Mildew or mold in bathrooms and kitchen (including cabinets)
  • Faulty electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and insulation
  • Peeling paint or cracks and splits in the siding
  • Signs of bugs, termites, or ants
  • Cracks in the foundation or pool
  • Sagging roofline, holes, or leaks

Kick Off Your Home Search!

Ready to find the home of your dreams? We'd love to help you start your next chapter right here in JoCo! Contact the Marlo Wells Team today to get a head start on buying your next home. We look forward to connecting you with your perfect place!

Need to sell before you buy? We can help with that, too!