This guest post comes to us via the smart, home-owning Liz of Being Geek Chic fame. She writes about comics, apps, technology, and The Hunger Games on the regular. Pop over and say hi!
Yesterday, we talked about the whys and how-muches of buy your first home. Today we're going to talk about the "yeses" and "OMG, nooooooos."
Start by making a list of MUST-HAVES that CAN’T BE CHANGED. What should be on this list? You can always buy new carpet or get stainless steel appliances - don’t put these items on the list. You can’t, however, magically create a larger backyard or move a house from one neighborhood to another - these items should be on the list. This list should guide your decision making.
Be warned: It can be really easy to fall in love with a house 30 miles from your office because your money goes a lot further towards the kitchen of your dreams when you’re further from the city. Trouble is, you’ll be kicking yourself when you’re sitting in traffic 5 days a week completely unable to enjoy that kitchen. Trust me, follow your list!
Next, make a list of deal-breakers. Here’s what my deal-breakers were when I started looking for a place:
I won’t live in a really old, inefficient home.
I can’t live in a home smaller than 1000 square feet.
It would be impractical to have a home without a garage.
Pretty simple, right? You wouldn’t think this would narrow down your search that much, but it really, really does.
Now, you might be saying: “but stainless steel is a MUST HAVE and if a house doesn’t have it, it will be a deal breaker for me.” That’s fine, but if you are buying your first home and you live in a major metropolitan area, you WILL pay a premium for things like that. Oftentimes, that premium isn’t worth it.
Now, start looking at houses! When walking through homes, I tried to think about how the life I live everyday would look in this place. I tried to imagine myself watching HBO in the basement and what it would be like to type up blog posts in the office. The more you can envision yourself in a place - the more likely you’ll start to love it.
Eventually, it should come down to a combination of things: the home you choose should include your MUST HAVES - PLUS you should feel at least a little excited about living there. I found a townhouse that made the cut and I know I made the right choice, because I’m still excited to come home every day.
Share your house-buying tips on the comments!
photo by young swan designs, for sale here