How to Buy a Home

Buying a new home is not a matter that can be taken lightly. It is one of the most serious investments a person can make. Hence, one should pay attention to every single detail while looking for and buying a house.  What do you need in a house? What kind of house do you want? Do you want an eco-friendly  house, etc? Today I am going to share with you some important things to consider when buying a house.

There are a number of basic factors to consider while buying a house – the location, the surroundings, the environment, proximity to places like schools, colleges, offices and markets, and many more. You should have a fair idea about the place. Some people prefer having houses away from the general hullabaloo of city life and can choose to live in more quiet locations. Some people think from a more practical point of view and choose to stay amidst the city where getting to work and meeting up with friends is easy.

Once the location has been decided, then comes the house itself. Scrutinizing a house before striking the final deal is the most important aspect here. You don’t want to miss something and end up regretting your purchase. Here are some of the things that a person should check while investigating a house:

  • The types of cooling and heating systems. This is necessary for a potential home owner to assess. You  need to be sure of what you require or desire to have. Do you want hot water heat or a furnace? Do you need air conditioning or can you live with fans? Is there an option to put in a geothermal system? All of these questions should be asked.
  • Number of bathrooms and bedrooms. This is another important factor when it comes to choosing a house. You  must know what your requirement is.  Depending on the size of your family, you must see if the house you are considering has the required number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Presence of a backyard or a frontyard. If you are fond of gardening and landscaping, this is a must-check. Many houses have yards however some do not. Presence of a yard is necessary if your family has children and pets because it provides a space for them to play for free in a safe location.
  • Presence of a basement or an attic. If you have  a whole lot of things that you do not want to discard, you will require a basement or an attic that can accommodate these items. However, in my opinion it is best to downsize as much as you can. Why pay for storage for things you don’t use anyways?!
  • Presence of a garage or a shed. If you own a car and live in a temperamental climate, you are probably going to want a garage. I know mine comes in handy when it is -40C in winter outside.
  • State of the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the two most important parts of a house.  You must scrutinize the kitchens and the bathrooms properly since they are the most used rooms in a home. They should be properly maintained, in terms of hygiene and function or don’t buy the home.
  • Type of windows. Windows constitute another significant factor while looking for a house. You need to make sure that the windows of a house are properly installed and are devoid of any defect. Faulty windows can fall hard on your pocket later on if they are leaking and not insulating like they should be.
  • Presence of an energy retrofit. This must be checked in order to decide whether there is any need to install another energy-retrofit system. There are several sustainable energy-retrofit options available in the market these days. They are immensely helpful in saving money on energy. This was one of the things that was really important to us when we bought our home.
Buying a home can be stressful and overwhelming so it is good to have a baseline assessment done ahead of time what you are looking for. This checklist will guide you in making the best decision for your family for the long term. I hope this list has been helpful and has gotten you to start thinking about what you really want and need when it comes to a home.

So, are you currently looking to buy a home? What kinds of things are you looking for? Or, if you own a home already, what kinds of things did you look for before you purchased your house?


How to Buy a Home — 17 Comments

  1. Great tips! Especially the advice on making sure you have adequate storage. When I moved into my first apartment, this wasn’t something I considered and was left with only two closets in the entire apartment. Since then, this is one of my top priorities.

    • @20’s Finances. Yes storage is a funny thing. You don’t have enough and you have too much clutter out in the open; if you have too much storage then you are bound to acquire things you don’t need just because you have the space. We don’t have a ton of storage space either in our house but I use that limitation as a way to control the amount of stuff we have. It works out well really.

  2. We’ve had REAL storage issues in our new (ancient) house. These century homes simply weren’t built w/ many closets! In one bedroom the closet was sacrificed to give more space for the vanity in that bathroom. We have 4 bedrooms, but one is 8’x8′ and was set up as a walk-in closet – so we kept it a walk-in!

    Once we finish the attic space off we will build lots of storage there, and free up bedroom space on the 2nd floor. In the interim I bought a bunch (6?) of those pine wood shelves for the basement to store everything (basement isn’t finished so couldn’t hand shelves …).

    Good article Miss T. Reminds me of the housing articles I published back in March (about 7 I think)

    • @SPF. Storage issues seem to be quite common with many people, us included. Our house has some storage but it isn’t a big house so we try to limit what we own so the house isn’t cluttered. We are fortunate to have a walk in closet in our bedroom. If we ever move I will make this a must have.
      Good luck with your renos. I think an expanded attic will make a huge difference for you.

  3. We like a basement for tornado warnings. Unfortunately thre are plenty of areas where basements are almost non-existent & many are in Tornado Alley.

    I’d ask to see the energy bills to compare houses too. It’s not a foolproof way to judge, but it gives you a general idea.

    • @Maggie. Great idea about comparing energy bills. I didn’t think of that. There would be an issue with this if a person is dealing with a seller’s market and bidding wars, but it is something to keep in mind if you have the time to look into it before you need to put in an offer.

  4. I’m starting to look for a rental property to buy. I’d like to be able to find something that needs a gut inside, but has good bones (electrical/plumbing/roof, etc). I don’t want to have to spend the capital to fix things like that…

    • @Kyle. Sounds like a sound plan to me. We too have discussed getting a rental property and also don’t want to have to sink a ton of money into it. If the base is good and all you need to do is the aesthetics than you are good to go. Try getting an inspection before buying a rental. That will tell you exactly what the house needs and then you can decide if that work fits within your budget.

  5. I’m not quite ready to purchase a home yet, but I know that if I’m going to live where temps reach high ’90’s or more in the summer, I gotta have central air! As for bedrooms and bathrooms, it really just depends on the layout of the floor plan. I could probably go with fewer total rooms, if there was plenty of space for all of my separate living needs (cooking, sleeping, working, etc.). Thanks for sharing these great tips for house hunting.

    • @Little House. You’re welcome. The type of house you need all depends on what your future plans are. If you have a good idea of where you life is going to take you, then you can make a better decision on where to live and what to buy.

      Yes central air would be a must if those temps make it too hot for you to feel well. If you can’t do central air because there are no ducts, try mini splits or window units. They work good too.

  6. Miss T, those bidding wars seem to be more prevalent in some areas than others. It works against the buyer trying to get as much information as possible. But if you are a seller you might want to provide copies of your utility bills (if they’re low) to help sell your house.

  7. I am not buying a home for a while, but when my parents bought a home, they looked for homes that are one-story. That way, when they get older, they can “age in place” whereas a condo or a 2-story home will present more challenges.

    • @ Well Heeled. That is a great point. I had a similar conversation with my parents when they were looking at a different house. We grew up in a two story and my Dad said his next house would be a one story so he wouldn’t have to do the stairs. Funny thing is, they just bought another two story. Now he says the stairs will keep him in shape. I guess your perspective can change as you get older. Eventually though the stairs I am sure will be rough on them but they know that. Glad to hear your parents had some foresight.

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