House hunting is not easy, friends. We’ve been searching for two years now and finally, finally, finally found our house. (And closed on it today!) When we first started looking we had a vauge idea of what we were looking for in a house, but there is nothing like time and experience to teach you what’s really important.
In the end, there were six critical things we looked for when buying a house. Our goal was to ensure our home purchase would be a smart and sound investment, seperate from all the emotion the process can add to it. It took us a while to create this criteria, so hopefully our list can help you save some time and frustration on your own house-hunting journey!
Even if you are never planning on having kids, nothing affects your property value like a school district. The better one is, the more desirable houses in that area will be. Should you need to sell, you are likely to be able to sell quicker and recieve more money for your house than a similar house in a less-awesome school district.
This one is super important if you care about the community within your area, because even in great school districts there are neighborhoods that can be a little lacking. Drive around streets and get a feel for how people are taking care of their yards and personal property. When you walk by others on the sidewalk do people smile and say hello? It was important to Josh and I to find a neighborhood where people really care about their community and take care of it and each other.
3. Purchase history
This is an area that I wish I had thought about sooner in the house buying process. It’s easy to walk into a house and be wowed by the staging and design. But take a step back and do your research on that home. Did the $250,000 house you’re ooh-ing and ahh-ing over sell for $35,000 less than a year ago? Super quick flips can tell you a lot about the quality of the workmanship that was done. And we’ve found that usally these quick flips are the most expensive house on the block, which we never want to be.
4. Your non-negotiables
I feel like everyone has a list of non-negotiables that they have identified when they first start house shopping. And then, somewhere along the way, if they are struggling to find the right house, they start to question if their non-negotiables should actually be non-negotiables. Don’t get me wrong, re-evaluting your list can be very wise, especially if your list of must-haves is a mile wide and not exactly realistic in your budget. But don’t be tempted to cut the truly important things in the name of simply finding a house.
If you know you want to have a few kids in the future and keep coming back to cute little Craftsman-style houses that are already too small for you (but you just love the look of so much!), take a step back and remind yourself that above all your house has to be functional.
5. Bones of the house
This is similar to number four and one that so many buyers get tripped up over. (And that Josh and I definitely struggled with in the beginning!) It is very easy to fall in love with a house based on a can of paint and some good staging. Look further. After all, that furniture is going to be gone when you move in. How old is the HVAC? What shape is the roof in? How insulated are the windows? Was the electrical done to code? Those are the items that cost major $$$ to replace. Paint is cheap in comparison.
6. Local development
It is so important to know what plans your city has for the areas you’re looking to buy in. Are they building a new school in the neighborhood you’e looking at? Awesome. Are the planning to widen the road right behind your potential house? Not so great. Make sure to keep up-to-date on local news while you’re house-hunting. It can save you some major headaches in the future!
Questions of the Day: Are you in the process of buying a house? If you’ve recently bought a house, what key considerations would you add to this list?