Friday, January 18, 2019

A Tale of Two Homes... What to Look for When Buying a House



We are currently in the process of buying a home here in Texas so today's post is all about what to look for in a home. Whether buying your first home or a place to retire to ~ let's look at some key home features...




Location Location Location

Location is always high on the list of priorities as we all want a house with great curb appeal in a good neighborhood. Lately I have seen some great houses but their locals weren't so wonderful. Check out areas you think you might like to buy in then keep that in mind as you shop for your home.

One of the homes we were considering needed just a few updates. The cabinets were in good shape and solid wood so why rip those out to put in cheap particle board ones?  Removing the lower added mini cabinets with sliding doors and replacing the outdated lightboxes with strip lighting above would update this kitchen nicely.


Kitchens

The heart of the home is the kitchen and family room ~ the places where we spend the most time ~ so look at the layout of each of the homes you are looking at and considering. The flow of these rooms especially affect how we feel about our homes. 


If you don't mind doing a little work, a fixer upper is usually a cost saver on the home loan side.  Check and see if the appliances are good enough to use until you can afford new ones and also check the layout of the kitchen.

Decide too if it is important to you to have a good view out the kitchen window. Or if there even IS a kitchen window.

Loved this kitchen with its granite counters and stainless appliance!

In this home we loved the brand new appliances but ultimately decided that the main room didn't flow for what we were looking for. Buying a home because it has a beautiful kitchen and not a good flow in the main living areas can be a costly mistake.


Does the home need a remodel?

If you do buy a home with remodeling needs ask yourself if you can afford to make these changes over time. Fixing the vault of a room's ceiling ~ you'll need a structural contractor to give you an estimate. Adding new beams and headers if you are removing or moving walls ~ the same.



Fireplaces

How set are you on having a fireplace in your next home? 

Condominiums and apartments don't often have them and it was one of the high priorities we wanted in our first home.  Now we are looking at style of each fireplace. 

We would look to remodel this fireplace with removing these ugly grates
in the upper area and having a stone mason put in soldiers (brick standing
upright) spaced evenly apart to allow for passive heat flow with this ventilator.


These two photographs show two different fireplace layouts and both could be kept the way they are, or have some minor or major facelifts depending upon on one's needs and tastes.



Garden and yard

If you are a gardener like me then you are probably looking at the curb appeal of your next home and its gardening potential. This home sat on almost a half acre and we loved it for its beautiful manicured English style gardens.



Laundry room

Newer construction gives us much bigger and usually better laid out laundry rooms but surprisingly not all of us require a large laundry area.  This one is charming and practical for when a hot water hose breaks ~ a drain is already set into the floor plus the room is sunken by 4" to deal with major water spraying.

In our first home we had a hot water hose break while we were eating dinner. First we heard a strange hissing sound then saw a swirl of water turn the corner from the carpeted hallway coming rapidly into the kitchen!

Not the best way to end dinner ~ but insurance paid for all the repairs. :)

Something to look at on your home owners insurance ~ is flooding included in your policy? It should be but it is good to read through your policy to be sure. If the carpeting gets soaked during a pipe burst will your insurance replace all connected carpet and other damaged flooring?

Good things to make sure you have in place especially if looking at an older home.

Sorry this is a bit dark ~ taken with my iPhone.


Bedrooms, bathrooms and office spaces

For a room to be counted as a bedroom it must have an egress window in case of emergency plus a built in closet. I've seen some homes here in Texas that were advertised as having a certain amount of bedrooms but the room in question was really a play space ~ not very ethical and a potential for disaster.



Office spaces are wonderful especially if they come with built in shelving. A drawback is what to do if you already own cabinets and bookcases. Where would you now put yours?

Could you put those bookcases somewhere else in a potential home? Would you have to sell them?

That's something to consider. 


Good layout for a powder room.  Could make an update down the road
with new cabinet and countertop.


In looking at the houses you visit you'll want to check the layout of each bathroom in each house.  So important as we have found that many homes today look pretty but aren't functional.

It is the trend today in some bathroom remodels in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs to take out the medicine cabinets in favor of just plain mirrors.  This may be all over the country, as far as I know, and this is perfectly fine as long as there is a base cabinet with drawers (such as in our soon-to-be home, below). 

Oddly enough, one flipper in our area took out the base cabinet in one master bathroom as well ~ a totally non-functional bathroom.  What he put in was beautiful with its granite countertop and pretty marble shower but there was absolutely no storage. It was a hotel bathroom and not a residential bathroom... big mistake and had we bought that home we planned on asking for money to make it functional.


Good design must include function as well as beauty.   :)  


Sneaking this photo in of our soon-to-be home, if all goes through. :)

Putting in an offer

These are  two of the many homes we looked at over the past six months and considered as we were finding our first Texas home.  We lost out on the first house we bid on (the older home shared here in these photos which sat on almost 1/2 acre and had a lovely English garden... I was crushed at the time!).

This beautiful all white home was one we really thought about but ultimately decided not to go ahead.  But we did find another home we really like this and this second offer was accepted.



Yesterday's post shared just a peek at our home-to-be... :) Which is another thing to be prepared for: not having your offer accepted and it is very emotional and disappointing and often we don't know why our offer wasn't picked. Sometimes it is timing ~ that your offer is contingent upon your current home selling. Sometimes it's just a matter of what the seller and realtor feel is best for them. In our case with the first home, the seller's had a cash offer which trumped ours.   :(

But don't lose heart as there are plenty of good homes out there in a style you will love!  Keep looking and try for the one which has the most items in it that will suit your current needs.  




Happy house hunting,

15 comments:

  1. So glad to see that you guys are moving to Texas! The climate is definitely different, but you get used to it after a while. We've moved so many times over the last 10 years that we can pretty much tell from the first time we walk into a home whether it is right for us or not...we don't even need the "checklist" any more...LOL Hope you have a great weekend! Love and hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Benita! Actually, we have been in Texas for a little over 2 years now but just have been in the trailer. We took our time finding what areas we liked and what style of house we wanted (I really like the 1970's and early 1980's homes because secondary bedrooms are much bigger). We have a mental checklist but this time I really wanted Charles to have much more of a say in this home ~ which is how we ended up with Offer #2. It's a perfect home for us to begin rebuilding our portfolio. We've already decided it won't be the last. ;)

      Enjoy your early spring,
      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  2. Yay so glad your offer was accepted. Moving into a new home is always so exciting and sometimes a little scary too. And I bet you'll be turning your new garden into a lovely English garden in no time at all. Wishing you and your hubby many happy memories in your new home Barbara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! We close next week and our official move-in date is Feb. 28th as the sellers needed a couple more weeks to get their household moved. I appreciate all your thoughts and the garden is forefront in my mind and I am already noodling...

      Thanks again,
      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  3. All really good tips. I'm hoping I never need them, but you never know!

    And three cheers on your offer being accepted. I know you'll be counting down and can't wait to see what all happens as you move in and settle your own new home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll probably have a small post up that first night, lol! Our son was a byproduct of moving into our first house and sleeping by the fireplace our first night there (the furnace wasn't working until the next day...) so Charles, our 18 month old baby Amy, and I slept on the warm carpet with our Golden Retriever Skeeter. We slept great!

      Looking forward to that first night, too. Excited to start putting things away...
      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  4. You can never be careful enough when buying a house. There are so many things you don't think of but once you move in see that they are flaws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's it! That's really why we didn't end up with the nice 2700 sq.ft. English cottage house with the all white interior ~ too many flaws. Like that fireplace which was going to need restructuring to make it un-ugly plus revaulting the ceiling. The flipper should have done it and charged accordingly... Another house was stunning and also white with a double-sided fireplace and PERFECT for blogging... But, the neighbor hung a gong on the other side of the fence high up in his tree. Charles absolutely couldn't get over it and it would have clanged all night and driven us crazy eventually. Never be able to sleep with the windows open, so that's why we didn't pick that really nice 2300 sq. ft. house. It was perfect, otherwise.

      Thanks for thinking of those things and I am glad this isn't our first house all over again,
      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  5. Great tips for buying a new home, Barb. I'm beyond excited for you, and can't wait to see what you do with your new place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Julie! Excited to get in there... Soon! Building an idea for a garden design already...

      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  6. This post is so helpful. I am so glad you found the house, how exciting. It will be so much fun to decorate it. I will enjoy seeing what you do with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Debra! I appreciate your sweet thoughts. :) It'll be fun to have French doors and lovely windows. I am looking forward to having a craft room again and Hubby is looking forward to having a tv and his game room/office again.

      Funny how it's the little things... ;)
      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  7. So excited for you! It pays to wait and do your homework.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Maria, and thank you earlier for taking a look at that other house. Charles just could not see past the ceiling needing to be revaulted in the two back-to-back living rooms although the garage had massive amounts of storage. The area was going under a lot of construction, too, which also was just beginning, so... In a couple of years we will look for something bigger on a couple of acres. For his future retirement and getting back into coaching pole vault. :)

      Thanks again,
      Hugs,
      Barb :)

      Delete
  8. Living, where you do, should bring you happiness, and self - fulfillment! It should bring you, a healing heart, and spirit! However, major systems of a house, must function effectively, and easily, such as heating, air conditioning, and other major and minor systems, which might impact, your enjoyment of the particular home!. buying house business in bangladesh Since, for most people, their house is their single, largest financial asset, as well as a source of pride, and comfort, but, unfortunately, many consider the home buying experience, to be an extremely stressful, period of time.

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your leaving me a comment, thank you!
Hugs,
Barb :)

More posts you may like

Blog Archive