The decision to buy a house is a big one: It impacts so many areas of one’s life. Most often, when a person confirms that it’s time to invest in a home, he or she is committed to spending years (perhaps decades) in that location, and to establishing community connections. South Boston, being the vibrant community that it is, is attracting home buyers, as it should. Here are a few house-hunting tips for those of you checking out the possibilities:

* Visit the different parts of South Boston to get a feel for where you might like to focus your search: Take a walk along residential and commercial streets; check out the waterfront and other buildings around Fort Point. Participate in a community event (a store opening, a benefit for a local charity, a bike or running race) or hang out in a few pubs or bars to hear what people are talking about.

* Check your finances to make sure you are realistic about what kind of investment you can make and sustain. A fixer-upper, though perhaps most affordable now, might require plenty of cash to get it truly livable. Even a home in great condition will need upkeep.

* Start looking through listings where you’ll indulge in photos, floor plans, and all the details about kind of heat, nearby school, etc.

* Find a real estate broker who specializes in South Boston. Let them know which property type you are interested in (single family homes and condos are the most common for South Boston) and other criteria (price range; number of bedrooms; etc.).

* Read through Curbed University’s guide to real estate terms such as “earnest money,” “title,” and “special assessments.”

* Have patience: Taking your time might not only be necessary, but advisable. Plan for the search to take up to several months – though it might indeed be much shorter or much longer.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit: Veer.com