Monday, October 5, 2015

House Hunting Update

Since my wife and I first started looking at houses (both online and in person) we have seen all different kinds of properties. Actually, maybe not all different kinds but a diverse range of quality, various prices (all within our pre-qualified range), and built at different times. It has been an experience and an education throughout. While there are a few things that now have on our checklist when walking through a property, I will say that this process has been a heck of a lot easier having a great realtor working for us (who just so happens to also be a brother).   

I guess the first thing that has been driven home again and again for us is that price doesn’t mean quality. Some of the houses that we walked through which were at the top of our range had some great features but there were a number of things that left a lot to be desired. At the same time, those houses well below our max budget may not have had some of the fantastic features but they were generally solid all around. So far all a higher price has meant is that the highlights will be there but they will also accentuate the shortfalls.

In many of those instances with the higher priced homes the biggest issue was found in the basement. This is why you must always look in the basement and study the walls of the foundation and the structure surrounding you in all six directions. There were a few houses that we considered putting offers in after having walked through the house but that thought quickly evaporated once we saw the large cracks and chunks missing from the foundation walls (and these houses were only 10-15 years old).

It just goes to show that you have to always look beyond the fa├žade. Not considering the basic structure and foundation of the house but also looking past unfortunate paint selections and minor things that can be fixed within a couple hours over the weekend. While the former will prevent you from making the mistake of buying, the latter may prevent you from making the mistake of walking away.

However, the most important thing that we are constantly reminding ourselves during this long process is that just because it is a nice property doesn’t mean it is the right house for us. We have seen many properties both physically and virtually that would be great fits for people we know but they would never be something that we could call home. It is a long process that requires patience and persistence. And, in the end, I keep saying to myself that right now these are just houses. When we find the right one and move in then it will be a home.