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What's That House Made Of?

When you're shopping around for a new home, it's important to think about long term afforability. Though most people understand this when it it comes to mortgage payments and interest rates, there are a number of other factors that are going to affect how affordable your house really is in the long run. Operating costs, community lifestyle, construction and location are just a handful of the built-in details that can make or break the bank over the years. Read on to find out how these things can affect you and what to look for when you're looking for a home that pays off in more ways than one.

The Green Stuff

A home built with energy efficiency in mind can literally save you hundreds of dollars a year. Start with the basics here. Look for good insulation when it comes to walls, doors and windows. Energy efficient heating and cooling systems will likewise save you a bundle on daily operating costs as will a home that that's sited properly to make use of the sun's natural heat and light. If you can look past your wallet for a second, you might also want to consider that a home built with green, non-toxic materials will be healthier to live in as well. Look for formaldehyde-free products and materials that won't leach toxins into the indoor environment. Natural wood and stone are usually a safe bet. And though good health is more difficult to evaluate when it comes to number crunching, it certainly has an economic value if you translate it into saved sick days and trips to the doctor.

It Pays to Have Friends

Moving into a neighborhood that you actually want to become a part of can have an economic benefit that shouldn't be overlooked. Borrow a cup of sugar, trade babysitting, trade labor, share resources - it all adds up. Families that live where they love to work and play will also save immeasurable amounts of time and money when it comes to driving, commuting, ferrying the kids to school, soccer practice etc. Seriously - your community is an asset.

In Good Repair...for years and years and years

When you're shopping for a new home and evaluating what's on the market, you will likely be surveying the general state of repair that the buildings are in. Elements like: foundations, walls, roofing, chimneys, decks and stairs can and should be evaluated in a formal building inspection before you put your money on the table. But if you really want to save money over the long haul, look for more than this. A home that's built with quality materials will simply require less maintenance over the years. Look for top rate materials and solid craftsmanship. Homes built hasitly with cheap materials will need more repairs and won't command the resale value of a more solidly built building.

A Home Built for Drivers?

Homes that are farther out from the city are generally cheaper, but there's a price to pay for being farther out from the main economic centre in your area. Figuring out whether or not the additional driving will fit into your budget and lifestyle is also vital to calculating the longterm afford ability of your home.

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