5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Home

Choosing a home is like baking a cake – it really is only a matter of following the recipe.  That is, if you actually know the recipe!

Choosing a home is like baking a cake; they both require a recipe

There’s an easy recipe for choosing a home

When you have the recipe, you measure, you mix, you bake, and voilá!  Out comes a yummy cake.

If only recipes pointed out the most common mistakes…

But even with a recipe, sometimes what we need is a bit of experience on how to get some of the steps done.  And, inevitably, at the end of the process we realize that there were a few things that we could improve next time.  If  only recipes pointed out the most common mistakes, then you could have an easier time baking the cake on your first try.

When choosing a home, it’s best to avoid mistakes on the first try

Choosing a home (with schools in mind) is also a matter of following a recipe.  But you might not have a chance to try it again for another few years, so it’s best to avoid any mistakes on your first try.

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when choosing a home (with schools in mind):

# 1 Not finding the right schools to meet your needs

Finding a school is not just about scores.  There are also other considerations which might be of interest to you, such as special programs, the size of school, the grades offered, and even the atmosphere.

Read Ellen’s story and how she gave up finding the right home (with the right schools) – unnecessarily:

Moving to Fairfax County, VA doesn’t have to be Overwhelming

# 2 Getting school info from only one source

So you are determined to find the right school.  The trouble is that there aren’t easy resources available to help you on your search.  So you settle for the most popular one.

Hmm… are you sure you’re not missing out on choosing a good school based on this one opinion?

See how it’s better to use more than one source for your research:

Are you only using GreatSchools to research schools?

# 3 Choosing schools using only one ranking

This is like putting all your eggs in one basket.  Is it better to choose a school based on its average SAT scores?  Or perhaps its SOL scores?

Why settle for one ranking when you can have The Ultimate Ranking©?

Fairfax County High Schools – The Ultimate Ranking©

# 4 Not researching transportation options for commuting

By now, you are comfortable with your school choices.  Um… but, have you considered how you’ll be getting to work?

Let’s make sure you’re not getting into an Ironman-style commute, shall we?

How to Commute to DC from Fairfax County, Virginia

# 5 Relying on automated valuations for determining the price of a home

Last, but not least, you’ve honed in on a school boundary and now are ready to look for homes in your budget.   Then, you find out that your favorite homes seem overpriced (or underpriced) for what some websites calculate is their fair value. Or are they?

See why it’s tricky to trust automated valuations:

Why Zillow’s Zestimates have a 7.1% margin of error

In Summary

There you go, your cheat-sheet for avoiding 5 common mistakes when choosing a home (with schools in mind).

If only baking a cake were so easy!


The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA

The FREE No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA

If you haven’t subscribed yet, why wait?

Downloading The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA is free, and you’ll get access to our unique home-search (by school boundary).

Plus, you get the Fairfax County Real Estate Affordability Map, AND detailed information about each Fairfax County High School boundary.

Your turn, what do you think?

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