Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Staring our house hunt!

Yes, yes, yes we FINALLY are ready to buy a house!

No more renting, no more apartments on the second floor, no more having my garage on the other side of the complex, no more nondescript decortaing, we willl be able to be in our OWN space.

As first time home buyers we're trying to determine exactly what we want and need.

So we've made 2 separate lists, our must-haves list and our wishes list.

Here's our Must-Haves List:

3 (preferably 4) bedrooms

2 bathrooms

A backyard with grass (in AZ that's not a given)

Newer (Not much more than 10 years old.)

No major renovations needed right away.

And our Wish List:

Hardwood (or similar) floors

3 car garage

Fenced in Pool

Nice finishes (ie counter tops, cabinets etc)

No popcorn ceilings

Smooth walls (AZ homes have a lot of textured walls and I'm not a fan.)

What advice do you have as we start our search?

Anything we should add to either list?

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  1. How exciting! I can't wait to buy a house someday. I am looking forward to hearing about your search through this process. I hope you find the perfect home for you and your family!

    I have nominated you for a few bloggy awards. Come and check them out at http://missdiymonster.blogspot.com

  2. Are you sure you want grass in the desert? We're having drought in Kansas, and I'm considering picking some kind of native groundcover so we don't have to water.

    Your list is long! Hope you can find it all. We would've had to change careers, save for a decade, and probably sell any redundant organs to meet those demands for a house around here. Good luck!!

  3. How exciting! I myself can't wait to get our first home, although we rent a house from parents and I can paint and stuff but I want our own home to do whatever with. I hope you will share your house hunts and good luck with finding the perfect home. Also a pool is a must in AZ!

  4. Congrats Julia. Have fun searching and try to keep an open mind and see potential! It's a buyers a market so that's the good news for you. We looked at probably over 100 houses before we found the one we're in. Unfortunately despite all the effort it is not our forever home (we settled on a townhome because in our area of MD housing prices are redonkulous) and we hope to be able to afford to sell and buy again in a few years.

  5. In a perfect world these are some things I would want if I had to do for the first time, all over again: laundry ROOM (not closet... in our first home, it was in a closet in the kitchen. You'd be surprised at how much you would wish for a place to store your laundry baskets, dirty clothes, drying rack, etc.), a deck would be nice (but not necessary), insulated walls (our first house did not have that and you could hear EVERYTHING). I can't think of anymore, but I'll comment again if I do!
    So excited for you! Good luck!

  6. Oh so exciting! I still wait for the day when we can buy a home. Gotta wait 'till hubby's residency is over :( My brother lives in AZ & has those textured walls too. We don't have those at all in Michigan. They've got to be hard to patch. We do have popcorn ceilings in parts of our rental home right now. They are not fun. Who thought that was a good idea? Anyway I think the only suggestion I have is to remember your non-negotiables but be really flexible about everything else.

  7. The most important things to me are walk-in closets and main floor laundry room.

  8. Consider your neighbors!! How close are you to them? Who are they? Retirees? Other families with young kids? We didn't consider that the first time around, and had a lot of problems, especially considering we had people super close to us (like our exterior wall was less than a foot from their driveway).

    Also, is it ridiculously easy to hear people walking around on the second floor if there is a second floor? Our friends literally couldn't walk in their upstairs bedroom when their kids were napping in the downstairs bedroom because it would wake them up.

  9. Pay an independent inspector - it is well worth the $300. It saved us at least $2000. And make sure you are there for the inspection.

    Don't forget about closets. We bought our first house, and the second day we were there realized there was no pantry, no coat closet, no linen closet. How on earth did that escape us? It just wasn't on our radar.

    We renovated our entire house because we could have never afforded it otherwise. Everything we had to do was superficial, though, no construction, just new floors, carpets, paint, hardware, and fixtures. We put $6000 into it and increased its value $25K Sweat equity is a VERY good investment.

    Good luck! Have fun and take your time!

  10. Oh what fun! My advice - see lots and lots of houses and don't settle! Hold out for the one that makes your heart sing!

  11. We have a few friends/fam realtors in the area if you need one :) We should talk! Area is HUGE (neighbors, price, HOA, ect)and you have to consider schools...it comes fast! We need to get the boys together while we still live in the same hood! Call or text me


  12. We are living in our first house now. We moved in when our oldest was 18months. We now have a second child and a dog. Make sure you have plenty of space and good storage space. It really is amazing how much room all the kid stuff takes up and as they grow there is even more of it!!! AC, decks and fenced in yards weren't a must on our lists, but so glad our current house as these. If we were to move again, I'd no want a large or walk in closet, an ensuite and a really nice chef's kitchen. I can't wait to see your new home! Good luck on the search.

  13. Good luck! I'm in the 3rd home I've owned in 12 years and we're thinking about embarking on our 4th, too. I have textured walls right now... they're not bad! I like them... they lend character. Check your plumbing, wiring, and soundness of the roof and foundation. Best of luck!

  14. While I appreciate the desire for a grassy yard, please think about the environmental impact. Pumping water for lawns in AZ has contributed to a lot of water use issues. Plus our country is in the middle of the worst drought in history - even worse than the drought of the Depression and the 1950s. There are lots of wonderful native groundcover options that don't require destroying the local watersheds and damaging the local ecology.

  15. laundry room for sure instead of a closet, HATE my laundry closet. Love a big pantry and closet space also..we are renting right now, and the only reason I stay in this house instead of finding another is the lawn, I have 2 kids and a grass back yard is a great baby sitter while I do my projects!

  16. How exciting! My only advice is Location, location, Location. School districts, neighborhood curb appeal, do your homework on whether there are any city plans to eventually expand that cute little street in front of your house into a major 4 lane street in the distant future (been there), location. Happy searching to you!

  17. Congrats on buying! Buy the least expensive house in the best neighborhood you can afford. Over 30 years of marriage we have owned 13 homes. I have had homes I loved and some not so much, alot about a home can be changed, but the neighborhood you CAN'T fix.

  18. some good food for thought here already. Something to add, I'd look at the orientation of the home in relation to climatic conditions (prevailing breezes, sun etc.)

    It's something specific to the climate where you live. For example, I live in a tropical climate so we're all for N/E or S/E breezes, oversized eaves to shade windows and living areas away from the hot western sun. But Where you are is no doubt different so maybe just have a think about what climate charaacteristics you want to "capture" and which ones you want to avoid...

    House hunting is very exciting! Hope it's relatively painless for you!

  19. Yay for you and your family! I would definitely add, if you can find it, laundry room on the 2nd floor! I LOVE having the laundry room where the bedroom are. No lugging the baskets of clothes up and down the stairs. If you plan to have more children, your laundry will increase exponentially to where it grows to take on a life of its own, only to begin to calm down again when your oldest turns 15 and you teach them to do their laundry on their own.

    Other than that, you have a great list! Hope you find it all for a really good price. -K

  20. Getting mortgage pre-approval should be your first step. It will make homebuying a hassle-free experience for you by saving you time and puting you in a better position when looking for the right home as you already know the loan amount you're pre-approved for, instead of just taking a guess and looking at properties that are beyond your means.

  21. I am totally with you on the textured wall thing! blech! One thing I would definitely recommend is NOT getting a split bedroom house (where the other bedrooms are on the other side of the house from the master bedroom). My little girlie's bedroom is on the opposite side of the house from mine, and it stresses me out! I have talked to a lot of other mom's with the same experience as well. Good luck!!!

  22. You might want to add Amish furniture in your list. Furniture is a boon to any household and can make you feel good particularly when it's Amish-made. Good luck to your home search, too.

  23. Congratulations, Julia!!! So, have you already bought your dream house? It’s a good thing that you already listed down the qualities you want your home to have. It will definitely help you focus on finding your envisioned home and keep you from impulse buying. Good luck! =)

  24. I love how excited you are to be hunting for a house! Owning your own house definitely lessens a lot of expense on rent. Plus, you can truly call it your “own place,” since you’ll be buying it with your own money. It’s good that you’ve got a clear picture of the kind of house you want. That should make the research and shopping easier, especially when it comes to price points, offers and mortgages.

  25. Well, I think you should search for a house that has the characteristics listed on your must-haves list first. This way, you wouldn't be confused with the amount of resources you have. And, it's better to be convenient as well. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get your wish list eventually.

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I really appreciate all of your thoughts and comments! They bring a smile to my face!