Friday, March 1, 2013

Tips for Buying a New Home {and our Continuing Surprises of Home Ownership}

2013 marks the tenth year that my husband and I have lived in this house. Ten! How did a decade fly by that quickly?

When we first moved in, we had unlimited closet space, aspirations for changes we were going to make inside and out, and plenty of free time on the evenings and weekends for projects galore.

Now, as a family of four, we have zero extra storage space, some remodeling completed and some ideas scrapped, and free time? What the heck is that?

messy house

When it comes to owning our home, we have encountered some traditional issues along the way (e.g. replacing an aging furnace) as well as some that we would have never imagined (e.g. what do you mean we have to push the armoire up over the back deck because it won't make the turn up the stairs?).

If you had told me ten years ago that we would have encountered (and taken in stride) everything that we've discovered about owning a home, I might not have believed you. However, after all of our learning experiences, here are a five quick tips that I've come to believe in when it comes to buying a home:
    • Don't underestimate the power of a good school district. When we began looking for a house, I was adamant about the particular neighborhoods that we visited because I knew which schools I wanted my future children to attend. Trust me, it matters!
    • Stay within your budget. We all want to live in our dream home, but don't forget about the importance of keeping a little money in the bank for the future.  One day your children might need help paying for college and and all of your retirement planning is going to hopefully let you relax and enjoy your golden years!
    • Hire a home inspector. If you've ever watched HGTV, then you know that there is the possibility of a laundry list of potential problems to arise in any given home. Hire a professional to point out any issues (obvious or not) that could require costly repairs down the road.
    • Follow your instincts. Typically with large purchases we feel the need to visit 20 different stores to compare each and every model and the price tags, right? Not the same with houses. I knew immediately that this was going to be our house before we had even set foot inside, so sometimes you just need to go with your gut!
    • Look at the big picture. While buying a house is a great way to put your resources into a worthwhile investment, don't forget the amount of labor and money that will continue to be required. From new appliances to plumbing problems, you can't just call a landlord to come take over. So be prepared to physically, mentally and financially take care of your investment for years to come.
    This is in no way a comprehensive list when it comes to planning to buy a home, but just a start on how to be prepared for the process. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice from friends, family, an agent or other trusted, knowledgeable sources such as your bank and Genworth Financial.

    No matter how much we may have scratched our heads over the strange, DIY choices that the previous owners of our house might have made, we can look back on the past ten years here and put it all aside in favor of focusing on the great memories that our family has created.

    We've laughed, we've celebrated, we've grown, we've loved — our house is much more than just the building where we reside and I check the mail, it's our home.

    Do you own your home? If yes, what would you recommend to first-time buyers? If no, what factors will most influence your purchasing decision?

    Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network but, as always, all thoughts an opinions are honest and my own.


    Jayne Townsley said...

    Good advice all the way around!

    I have no desire to be a home owner, as I do not want the responsibility of fixing things. Things can definitely crop up out of seemingly nowhere.

    And your armoire story is funny. My dad used to move furniture for a living, and I'll never forget the time we had to take down a wall to get a baby grand piano out. They had remodeled after the bought the piano without thinking about the logistics of removing it.

    Ari T said...

    These are some great tips. I don't own a home so it's nice to find out what to look for when the time comes to search for one. I know that sometimes it pays to look at every potential home that your realtor can find within your budget. You never know when the right fit might come along.

    giggedygeekmum said...

    I don't own a home... yet. we have a bid in and, if we did our paperwork correctly it will be ours shortly. These are some good tips.

    Pixystik4U said...

    we are curently saving to buy a home. Great read, thank you!

    Mary Qin said...

    Thanks for the tips! Going to be in the market for a home soon so this will be something to keep in mind.

    Paula V said...

    These are great tips. Thanks for sharing. Home buying is so stressful.

    Maria Iemma said...

    Buying a house is very stressful and the paperwork is unbelievable. I am getting ready to sell and it is the same -- all over again!

    slehan said...

    I've lived in my house for 30 years. One tip I'd add is to know what you want and don't want in a house. When I was looking I wanted a fireplace and a garage. Love my garage (don't get a house without one), but haven't used my fireplace in years - too much trouble.

    Pixystik4U said...

    Good tips! I cannot WAIT to own a home. Renting now. ick.

    Maria Iemma said...

    The best tip is the hiring of a home inspector - This is crucial when purchasing a home. My girlfriend wanted to save some money so she declined the home inspection and later found out that there was a crack in the foundation...this has cost them a lot of $$ and many headaches.

    Robin Wilson said...

    These are all great tips. One mistake that my hubby and I made 13 years ago when we bought our house is getting older and health decline. We simply can no longer maintain a yard of over an acre and the house is just too large for me to keep up like I want to. The market is just too bad for us to sell. Sadly we all do get older, so if you are buying your forever home, remember that.