There is nothing quite like owning a luxury home. Picture beautiful, scenic views, spacious bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, Olympic-sized swimming pools, and gorgeous, landscaped yards. Okay, so that’s quite an image, and you’re probably asking, “So, how do I go about choosing a luxury home that fits my style, needs, and budget?”

Here is Luxury Homes 101 to the rescue. Below are some tips that will help you learn about the ins and outs of looking for a luxury home. You will know what to research, things to consider, and traps not to fall into, so you will have the dream home you’ve always wanted.

What to look for

First, talk to homeowners in your top three subdivisions or neighborhoods. Ask them about the area – whether they like living in the area. If you have kids, inquire as to schools in the area. Also, ask about certain restrictions and rules, and whether they’ve had any problems. Also, ask them what they like most about living in the subdivision. Getting feedback from potential neighbors can go a long way towards your decision-making.

If you have kids and worry about safety issues, when it comes to swimming pools or traffic, investigate homes where you can have options. Part of Luxury Homes 101 includes doing your homework, in order to address your needs and concerns.

Additionally, check zoning laws to ensure you know if nearby development won’t encroach on your privacy and views, since commercial buildings can lower a home’s market value.

Find a specialized agent

Buying a luxury home is different from buying your average home. An expert at selling luxury homes has special training and is well-versed at sales. Look for someone who has a vested interest in the area, such as living or working exclusively close-by, or who has close connections.

Securing a local real-estate agent can answer many of your other questions that homeowners may not know or be aware of, including market values, trends, and the like. Ensure that the demographic makeup of the area fits with what you’re looking for in a subdivision. Obtain a copy of the Home Owner’s Association rules and regulations. There could be many guidelines or policies you have to adhere to, such as home colors, limits on vehicles, and more, so make sure you know what you’re getting into – before you sign on the dotted line.

Know the expectations

Check out the area utilities’ policy. Some regions have opened up their markets, allowing private companies to compete with city-owned or utility companies for your business. Consumers may get confused, not knowing what direction to go, so find out where to get the best quality for the best price.

Don’t fall into traps that could end up costing you more money; budget your money wisely, and only purchase what you can comfortably afford – especially if added expenses get tacked on, such as HOA fees, or other “gotcha” expenses you weren’t expecting.

And now that you’ve been educated with Luxury Homes 101, go out, armed with knowledge, and get your dream home!