I touched on house hunting in my earlier blog but I wanted to spend a little more time on this subject. I genuinely thought that house hunting would be fun. On a Saturday afternoon, it is great to check out new listings. You get to pick what you like, what you dislike and talk about what you would change. Clearly this is a popular thing to do because HGTV does show after show about it (I can’t help but binge watch House Hunters). When you’re actually looking to buy, those things you dislike in home become blaring, and you think about the price tag that would come with changing those issues. House hunting with an unlimited budget would have made it a blast! But we are a young couple on a tight budget, so big renovations would be way down the line.
Then you get to deal with the reality that is what you want your mortgage to be. The reality of what fits in your mortgage budget never seems to be quite what you want and you admit to yourself that your house will not be perfect. This DOES NOT mean you can’t find a house you love! Your love of that home is what will make up for any concessions you may have to make.
Big Items to Discuss:
- What area of your city/town?
- Fixer Upper or Move in Ready?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Is there maximum/minimum on square footage?
- Carport? Garage? How large?
- Large or small backyard? Fenced?
I could keep going but everyone has different “big items”. For me and my husband we landed on a fixer upper, (with more surface level work needed, no gutting a house!) more square footage, at least 3 bedrooms (for our family to grow), we wanted a larger fenced backyard (for kiddos and a future furry family member) and garage was obviously wanted but not a requirement. At first, we limited our area but ended up being a little more flexible on this because of how fast homes were selling, we didn’t want to miss our perfect home because it was 5 minutes outside our wanted area.
Location items that matter for us personally:
- It had to be in town! If we lived out of town we would never leave… Yes, I realize that makes us lazy.
- The school district. We have a little one on the way and in case we decide to stay in this home long term we wanted a good school system.
- Proximity to work. Pretty self-explanatory.
- Street curb appeal. This was a big one for us, we want our street to be clean and well maintained. We weren’t looking for fancy, we were looking for cared for.
We discussed our big items and made decisions on what we were willing to wiggle on and what we had to hold firm to. It helped so much! Sadly, we didn’t do this until after we started looking… I would recommend doing this before you step foot in a house. You may think you know what your significant other is thinking and you could be wrong, so take the time to sit down and make a plan.
Lastly, when you start looking at homes take your time; look for cracks, check closets and lighting. This could be your future home, it is worth taking an extra thirty seconds to examine that old furnace. We saw some very interesting things in homes we looked at; from a furnace that they used old doors linked together to block off (pretty sure that’s not to code!) to slanting floors (adorable house but we didn’t need our house to fall over) and we survived. Be ready for the good, bad and the ugly (seriously though, people’s choices in paint colors and wall paper blew my mind). Just don’t feel pressured to buy just because you have been looking for a while. Buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase of your life, your lender isn’t paying back that mortgage and your Realtor doesn’t have to live there, you and you alone should make the decision it is the right home for you. Don’t give up hope! The right home will come around, it certainly did for us.