My husband and I recently (like just last week!) bought our first home. During the home search process and through countless discussions with our realtor, we learned what features are most important when buying a house.
Because we will likely sell the house again in less than ten years, our buying strategy was a bit different than most people’s. We wanted to pick a house that we really liked but that would also be easy to sell.
Here are the lessons we learned:
This is the first rule of real estate, right? Location, location, location. We chose a home in a popular subdivision near the city where we reside. In addition, even though we homeschool, we carefully considered the reputation of the local schools. Sure, our kids won’t be going to school there, but we know potential buyers will likely send their kids there and will care about the school district.
Layout Is Important
We live in Tucson, a city that is popular with both families and snow birds (retirees who come to live here for the winter months or half the year). We wanted a one story house because my mom will be visiting and has trouble with her knees. By choosing one story instead of two, when we get ready to sell, our home will be a good choice for both families and retirees, which means it will appeal to more buyers.
Low Maintenance Is Important
Since Tucson is so hot, we contemplated buying a house with a pool. Ultimately we decided to buy one without a pool because we didn’t want the high annual expense of maintenance. In fact, The Wall Street Journal estimated that a “pool would actually cost about $4,500 a year in total.” That’s money I’d rather keep in my pocket, especially when the article’s author interviewed Elaine Scoggins, a financial advisor, who said, “A lot of my neighbors built the pool for the kids, but the kids ended up wanting to go to the community pool because there are more kids there” (The Wall Street Journal).
Number of Bedrooms and Bedroom Size Matters
We wanted a four bedroom house because both my husband and I work from home part-time. The extra room could serve as a study or home office (and a guest room when we have guests). Turns out that there are many people who also work from home, so usually 4 bedrooms are more desirable than three.
However, there is one time when that is not the case. If the 4 bedrooms are all small, it might be smarter to choose a house with three bedrooms that are larger in size.
A House that Needs Light Updating Has Potential
I originally didn’t care for the house we bought when I saw it online first. The living room walls were painted in a sponge paint fashion, and the kitchen cabinets were a whitish-pink. All of the light fixtures needed updating. However, the realtor reminded us that with a little elbow grease and the help of a handyman, we could have the house looking great with less than $2,000.
Since the house was in otherwise great condition and had many attractive features, we felt sure that these changes will improve the home’s value when it’s time to sell again.
Outdoor Space Is Important
The final reason why we chose our house is because it had one of the biggest backyards we saw when house hunting, and there were no other houses behind it. While we have neighbors on each side, there will be no houses behind us, so there are no homes to block the gorgeous mountain views. That factor alone should go a long way toward selling the house when we’re ready to move on.
When you’re considering buying a home, also take time to consider how easy it will be to resell. Even though you may want to live there forever, you never know when a job or some other situation will require you to move.
What’s the most important feature you consider when looking for a new house?
All great tips! My parents recently moved to southern CA and, while they really wanted to buy a house with a pool, they decided against it because they’re so expensive to maintain. My husband and I bought our current home primarily because of the location and the low price per sq foot. Sounds like you found the perfect fit for your family–congrats!
Tucson is definitely hot! Congrats on your first home purchase. The layout is most important to me, as far as structural integrity and practical access to everything. My wife and I bought our rental home, which we plan to move back into later after our renters pay it off. We loved everything about the layout!