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Four Things to Look for When Buying a House

Buying a HouseBuying a house is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your entire life. Most likely, your home is the most expensive purchase that you will ever make, so it is important that you pay attention to all the details and choose the home that is the best fit for you and your family.

While buying a house can be a stressful time, it can also be an exciting time in your life and you should try to enjoy the process along the way. To help you get a grasp on the home buying process, following are four things not to overlook when buying a house. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list, but simply one to get you to start thinking of things you might want to be aware of when buying a house. You will also notice that there is no mention of getting a mortgage as that is a completely different topic altogether.

#1 – Square Footage

When you start out looking for a home, you should establish a range that will work for you in terms of square footage. You don’t want to buy a home that is too small that you will quickly grow out of and need to move again. Likewise, buying a house that is too big for your needs simply means you will pay more in terms of utilities and taxes for space that you aren’t using.

Think about the size of your family (both now and in the future) and decide what kind of square footage you need. You should also look at the layout of the house to see if it’s going to fit your needs and wants, now and later down the road. I know this may be a bit difficult to do but can be extremely important to do if you’re planning on starting a family. I wish we would’ve done more of this before we bought our home as it could’ve saved us some headaches now.

#2 – Wear and Tear

If you are looking at homes that are not new construction, pay attention to the amount of wear and tear in the house. Are there a lot of details that need to be fixed up when you move in? Do all of the faucets, toilets, etc. work like they should?

None of these items alone need to be deal breakers, but take into account any minor repair work that you will have to have done. You will also want to consider negotiating this into the asking price of the house. Even if you’re able to DIY most of the projects, it will cost you time in addition to your expenses.

#3 – Good ‘Bones’

Don’t be turned off by an ugly paint color, or even some bad wallpaper as those are things that can be changed relatively easily. Instead, pay attention to the ‘bones’ of the house. That means the structure itself, the roof, the interior walls, etc. If those major elements are in good condition (and pass inspection), you can worry about making minor changes later on after you move in. This is also assuming the fact that you’ve done your due diligence when it comes to hiring an independent home inspector that is not tied to the real estate agent.

#4 – Location Matters When it Comes to Buying a House

You can change a lot of things about a home after you purchase it, but you can’t move it. Make sure any house that you are considering is in the right location for you and your family to be happy for years to come. Is it close enough to work? Close enough to school for kids? What is the neighborhood like?

Location is one of the most important elements in your in your home search, so take time to search out available properties in your desired area and give them first consideration. You want to be able to enjoy living in your home for many years to come, and the location of the house is going to be a big part of your satisfaction.

 

What are some things you look for when buying a house? What is a deal breaker for you when purchasing a house?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Pallspera

 

 

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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16 comments

  1. Looking for a house with good bones is a great tip! We had friends who did that years ago and said their place was a mess of wallpaper, but they saw through it. I remembered their words when we home shopped and we experienced the same thing with our home, except instead of wallpaper it was paint. We were able to get a great deal on the home because it looked like a disaster when shown; however, the layout and structure were awesome. Once we repainted some rooms, I was a happy camper in the home.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…My Financial FreedomMy Profile

  2. I’m reminding of the saying “only three things matter when you’re buying a house: location, location, location”. I think this is the biggest one for me!
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…31 Creative Ways To Save MoneyMy Profile

  3. I agree with you that location matters. Our new house is close to stores, schools, parks, and main roads, yet tucked away in a neighborhood away from it all. I love it! We didn’t really pick this house based on the location but now I’m so glad we did!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Sorry Kids, We’re Broke: 4 Reasons to Live Like You’re PoorMy Profile

  4. I think location should be number one. Like you said, you can change pretty much everything about the house; you could even tear it down and build it new, but you can’t take that piece of land with you.
    Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja recently posted…Make A Summer Bucket ListMy Profile

  5. I always dream of a home with tons of square footage after all my years of NYC living, but then I think about having to clean it and it makes me grateful for my tiny space 🙂
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Thank You For Your SuccessMy Profile

  6. For me in this list #4 – Location Matters When it Comes to Buying a House would switch to #1 for me. I have been in some beautiful homes when I began my search, however when you see a drug deal go down 2 blocks away it does not matter about 1-3 on the list, so location is the key for me. I like the list, of course I’m more of a how much is this house and does it fit my budget kind of guy.
    Even Steven recently posted…Goal Progress to Financial IndependenceMy Profile

  7. My wife and I were recently looking at a house and it was really outdated. We passed just because we don’t have the time to take down wallpaper and paint and then shop for and buy new carpet. Otherwise we would have jumped on it as the structure of the house was in great shape. It was just a sight for sore eyes.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…Benefits Of Paying Off DebtMy Profile

  8. A deal breaker for me is a pool. Even though we live in Arizona where it is warm all year round, I am not willing to pay the cost to maintain a pool.
    Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet recently posted…Cheap Summer Vacation IdeasMy Profile

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