As someone that bought a condo in 2015 — I consider myself pretty knowledgable on shopping in the housing market. Especially as I’m starting to look for a house and considering when the best time would be to sell my condo.
I wanted to talk about house hunting and assessing what you are looking for. Many of us have dream houses that we’ve planned out on Pinterest. I have multiple boards with different interiors and exteriors because this dream house has been in the making since forever.
As we’re getting older (I’m twenty-seven and getting finer with time), we start to realize what is a necessity and a want. I won’t lie — I try to make everything a necessity and Chase, my boyfriend and Cannon’s dad, likes to point out that we could save money and do many things on our end. Usually, he’s right so I listen as we look on Realtor and Trulia at things we like.
But, we’re not full-fledge house hunting yet. Not until 2020 — mid-2020 or the end of 2020.
Now, there’s a difference between a need and a want. There are going to things that you need in your home like enough space for all of your items versus wanting a Sputnik lighting fixture (you can find these on Amazon and Ikea pretty cheap, FYI).
For myself (and Chase), a need would be something that we know we wouldn’t be able to replicate or buy somewhere else. We would want enough space so we don’t have to keep upgrading a home. A want would be a custom closet which we could worry about after the fact.
Important question — how do you want to live? How are you envisioning your home? Are you like me and imagining a two-story home with a gated yard for your dog and child to run around in? Maybe remove the kid and dog and add an amazing patio, if that’s your thing.
Or, do you want to live in the city and be able to walk to places rather than drive? These are all things that you need to consider as you start the process.
Add in your budget — this is important as you don’t want to buy a home that you can’t afford. Usually, the bank won’t allow that to happen but you never know these days. Anyways, your budget should help trim down on what you can and can’t afford. Don’t forget to get your pre-approval rate as that is helpful — when I was twenty-five and buying my condo, my maximum was $135,000 which was perfect for someone like me that was two-years post-grad and dealing with other bills like my car and student loans.
Last but not least, you can opt to work with a real estate agent that will know the ins-and-outs to everything and provide insight to you. I was lucky enough to have a real estate agent that went to bat for me and I know that my next real estate agent needs to be determined to help me sell and buy.
What can you not live without? What must be in your home? These are questions that you should ask yourself as you start looking at homes. You need these items so that it feels like home for you.
For myself, I need 3 or 4 bedrooms and at least, 2.5 baths. That is what I need to make sure that I’m happy.
Think about the layout and what would work best for you. I feel like this is a great step to find common ground for your future home. Be realistic about the needs as not every house is going to be how you want it unless you build it which is always an option.
How far from your job are you willing to commute? What are the prime locations that you want to settle down in? Think about these things as you are putting together your search because you don’t want to hate your commute (but if you can make it work, do it!).
At the end of the day, your needs are what is going to make or break your deal. For some people, if a need is not met then it’s not meant to be. Your needs are what you love and you have to go with what you love.
- 4+ bedrooms
- 2.5+ bathrooms
- Two-Car Garage
- Fenced-in yard
- Good school district
- Laundry room
- Great landscaping
- Nice-sized kitchen
- Basement (preferably somewhat finished but can work with unfinished)
I feel like it’s a lot but compared to other lists out there, I’m not asking for too much. Just some basic necessities and then some.
Want but Can Wait
How do you look at a want? For me, I see it as something that you don’t need but really want. For example, an enhancement or something that you can receive at a later time.
Optional. That would be a great way to put it. Wants are optional.
Your new home doesn’t need stainless appliances right when you move in. Those upgrades can wait until you’re in your home and settled with your finances.
Expectations need to be realistic. I love stainless steel appliances but they won’t make or break a deal for me because I know that I can go to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, or etc. to shop around and buy my favorite. That’s an easy facelift to a kitchen.
Your personal preference will still be there at the end of the day and if you’re going to stay in your home for quite some time then you’ll have time for the upgrades.
- Hardwood throughout the first floor
- Tons of windows for natural light
- Huge pantry
You don’t necessarily have to buy your dream house at 100%, you can come in at 65% and add your value.
Always remember that you shouldn’t rush the process because you never know what might pop up. The housing market is hot and you might have to go through a few offers but the home meant for you will pop up.
Never get your hopes up and just plan out your budget! Once you settle on what you need and the upgrades you want, you can scale out a timeline to see what’s doable instantly and what needs to wait for some time.
What are some things that you can’t live without? What can you live without or settle for in the future? Please, share! We all need as much housing advice as we can get!