I’ve talked before about home-buying and if you’re at that chapter in your life where you’re considering the change between renting vs buying and you’re ready to start house-hunting… then you’ve come to the right place! While we don’t consider ourselves experts, I am always one that loves to learn through the experiences of others, so this time I thought I’d share what we’ve learned through our own experiences in this Homeowner Hindsight series!
We’ve previously covered some tips before you start the house-hunting process, so definitely start there, but you guys, you don’t want to miss these 6 Essential Things to Consider Before Buying a Home!
Between our own home-buying ups and downs as well as the realtors and homeowners around me chiming in with their insight (and homeowner hindsight), we’re spilling the goods and sharing things you may not always think to consider.
Plus, I wish I knew about Homes.com before! They’re a HUGE resource to help the journey to homeownership from start to finish, especially with the How To section that breaks down everything you need to know about being a homeowner.
6 Essential Things to Consider Before Buying a Home
1. Noise level.
We learned this the hard way with our first home. While it backed up to a creek with plenty of lush greenery and even with a large yard gorgeous views, we didn’t quite think to take into consideration what was on the other side of that creek and beautiful tree line… an elementary school. Even at that, the school was pretty far off, with the playground and field space in between, so really we didn’t think too much of it. Until I worked from home. During the day. While kids were in school. And then I had a baby. And all day long during the school year, I’d hear the bell ring for recess followed by lots of yelling and screaming, until the next bell rang. And then it started all over again. We eventually got used to it, and it wasn’t that bad… but it also wasn’t quite as peaceful throughout the day as I thought it would be, and I definitely couldn’t keep the windows open when the baby was napping.
Suffice it to say, if there’s a home on your radar, consider driving around the neighborhood and nearby streets to see what’s around. Is the home near railroad tracks? A busy highway or road? Backed up to a school? In close proximity to an airport?
While none of these are necessarily a deal breaker, take your time to access the kind of noise you’ll have at different points of the day/season.
2. Added expenses.
When considering expenses, take a good look to see how much you plan to change on the home you’re looking at! We knew we were going to be changing A LOT, and knew that all those little things will truly add up. Thankfully it’s something we planned for, and purchased a home in a price range that allowed us to update!
Something that is really cool about Homes.com, is the snap and search feature! If you’ve stumbled across your picture-perfect home online, you can now find similar homes for sale or rent in the area you’re searching by uploading any photo you’ve saved, pinned, snapped or posted!
The great thing about finding a home you know this way? Less cosmetic changes! You can find a home with the look and design you already love, and save the money for the unforeseen expenses that can pop up.
Some advice from a realtor friend of mine, “The unseen costs add up over time like exterior painting, roof replacement, pool refinishing, A/C replacement, landscaping, and flooring (cleaning & replacement). Most homeowners don’t save each month for these things and then when they are needed it becomes a HUGE expense. These are some of the things I advise my buyers about… especially first time homebuyers.”
Homes.com can help you assess how much house you can afford by connecting you with a real estate professional in your area. Figure this part out before you begin your home search.
3. Schools and neighbors.
Even if you don’t have children (or not yet), it’s still important to take things like the schools and neighborhoods into consideration. What the ratio of kids in your neighborhood? Have you had a chance to meet any of your possible-new-neighbors while walking through the home?
I’ve heard horror stories of neighbors-gone-wrong, and thankfully we have some amazing one! Even though you won’t be seeing them constantly, the right people around you can make all the difference! You could even have custom home builders build a house in an isolated area for you if you’re worried about neighbors! If you want to learn more, check out buildtrend.
I’m not the only one who feels that way, my friend Kim agreed… “Schools and neighbors, we finally have really good ones.”
Think about what you do and what you need around you on a day-to-day basis. Everyone likes a different layout and for different reasons.
We knew we wanted an open concept and a large pantry. Thankfully, even though the home didn’t start with these things, we knew it had the right “bones” for it… but if you don’t want to constantly have projects over your head, make sure you make a list of the things you truly value, and stick to it!
Another mama friend of mine, Sophia, said, “The laundry room downstairs means the dirty clothes that go down to be cleaned must go back up to be put away. Next time… laundry room upstairs!”
Need a little help finding home in your area with just-the-right features?! Homes.com Match is like a personalized simply smarter home search. Input those things that matter most, and they’ll do the rest by stacking up what you “must-have” against what’s “nice-to-have” and giving scores for every home in your results – rather than the daunting scroll, filter, scroll process. It definitely simplifies the beginning steps to homeownership.
With a cross-country move from Michigan to Florida, there also came a big difference in the way homes are set-up and maintained, and we had to learn about how to care for a home in our new environment. Every climate had it’s quirks… in Michigan we had basements, which usually meant sump pumps. In Texas, most foundations need to be watered so they don’t crack from the dry heat. In Florida, there is a different way to take care of things because of the humidity (and you definitely want to make sure there’s insulation because of the heat)… etc. Research where you’ll be living and what some of the home maintenance will be. Part of owning your own home means taking care of it and you want to be prepared… especially when you find your dream home!
Photos of our garage turned homeschool room makeover!
6. The Paperwork.
Sometimes the paperwork surrounding the home buying process can seem daunting and overwhelming, but if you’re wanting to purchase a home, you’re in the big leagues now… so it’s time to grab a coffee and get ready for all that “stuff.”
Going into a new home with a solid homeowner’s insurance policy with warranties isn’t something you want to take lightly. In fact, with both homes we’ve purchased, we’ve had a homeowner’s warranty and ended up being SO grateful. In our current home, our water heater blew (along with a hole through the wall too, which leaked into our closet!). I woke up to the sound of running water. Thankfully, it was covered… it took a little effort and I had to pull the paperwork from it’s safe place, but that big bill was taken care of!
So, ask your realtor, take the time to read through the paperwork, and make sure you’ve got good coverage going into it! Be prepared to search for property management companies near me. There’s lots of things you need to remember if you’re buying a house so make a list!
For another bit of the nitty-gritty, my friend Josie mentioned, “Taxes are expensive… especially if the previous homeowners have been there long.” So check into it before you get too far into the process.
Photo of our big pantry makeover!
These are things to consider before buying a home that I wish I knew the first time around. What about you? Have you purchased a home? What are some homeowner hindsight tips you have?
If you haven’t seen our House to Home series on YouTube yet, make sure to check it out! I’ll leave our first episode below where we take you all through the NEW house!!!