A house is a long-term investment that pays off over time.

In most cases, it is best to look for a house that you plan to live in for at least 5 years. You should also keep in mind that many people stay in their home for 10 years or longer.

This means that your current dream home also needs to fit the kind of life that you expect to live years from now.

As you tour new homes, be sure to remember to ask yourself if the house you buy today will work for your future.

If you are unsure, then ask yourself these questions before you make a long-term commitment.

Are You Planning to Get Married?

The rising cost of rent is causing many single people to purchase homes. A home purchase allows you to build equity that renting does not.

However, you may need to think about how the house you buy will meet the needs of a new living partner. For instance, you may need a larger master bedroom if you hope to get married within the next 5 years.

Do You Plan to Have Children?

Children also add a new element to your home buying decisions. A newborn in your future could require you to need an extra room for a nursery.

You will also need to know about the schools in the area, and look for signs of a kid-friendly neighborhood such as a local park.

While you might be fine living near a busy street as a childless person, you may also care more about the location of your house if you have kids playing outside.

Do You Have Aging Parents?

Multigenerational families are becoming the norm. Moving your parents in with you helps save on senior care costs, but it could be hard if your house isn’t ready for it.

If you plan to move your parents in with you as they age, then look for houses that support safe senior living. For example, you may need a one-story home that is easier for older adults to walk through.

What are the Plans for Surrounding Properties?

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New residential communities often leave slots of open space available for people to build on later. This could cause you to have an unexpected neighbor move in a year or two after you buy a house.

Alternatively, an older neighborhood may be rezoned to allow commercial buildings to set up shop across the street from houses.

Make sure to ask about the future plans for an area that is slated for further development, to avoid being stuck next to a building or business that is not desirable.

How Could Your Finances Change?

Affordability is already a factor that you will consider while applying for a VA loan. However, you also need to think about what you can afford to pay for your house down the road.

Are you planning to retire? If so, then you need to make sure that your mortgage payments are low enough to fit a fixed income.

Sending a kid to college, switching careers, and starting a family are a few more lifestyle changes that could impact how much home you can afford, based upon your plans for the future.

Your home purchase needs to allow you to create an environment where you are comfortable for years to come. Make sure to plan for enough time to carefully consider all of the factors that could change over the years.

It may be hard to foresee the future. Yet, it is possible to use strategic planning to ensure that your new home fits your life as it changes.