Interested in buying a house?
Then pay attention. It’s the most important purchase you’ll ever make and not being careful will cost you time and money down the road.
Here is what you should look for in a house you plan on buying:
A great location
The best house in a ghetto won’t bring you any good or peace. You cannot live surrounded by electric fences or high walls (at least it’s not pleasurable), so the neighborhood has the BIGGEST impact over your future life and happiness.
As a personal example: we live in one of the best neighborhoods in my city. A central, yet peaceful location, with many parks and great schools. Ideal for families like us and anyone looking for a peaceful area.
There are some amazing buildings to be bought or really cool house plots in the city, but the neighborhoods are not the ones I’d like to spend my nights in.
So, even the least expensive house in a nice borough works better than a great one in a bad neighborhood.
The view from your new home
One year ago husband and I decided to get a rural home. It would be ideal for us to retreat in, once we retire, and also a great weekend spot for our family.
Since we live in a pretty crowded city and the air pollution is something we are constantly aware of, such a retreat would allow us the much needed peace and fresh air.
So we found a nice house to look at and decided to visit it.
The house looked OK, even if it was a ruin, but the yard was a mess.
We were at a crossroad, so it meant 2 sides of our property were at the street. Not that bad, if it had a nice view, but it wasn’t the case.
Even worse, the 2 neighboring yards were filled with cow/chicken manure and dirt. It was noisy and ugly. Not to mention the smell.
It felt like we were living in a barn in those depressingly dirty yards.
As you can guess, we decided to look more for a better location.
One month later we visited another ruin in another village. And fell madly in love with the house (which is remarkable, even if uninhabitable back then) and the plot.
The plot was bigger (the previous one was way smaller than advertised, so we were in a pretty big shock when we visited it) and only the house was facing the street.
The street itself was perfect (brand new asphalt) and the rest of our plot faced the forest and went up the hill, in a small and pleasant slope.
On top of that the house was built on century old beams, was excellent, structurally speaking, had a huge yard and a beautiful garden plot.
Right now we have a nice garden there and a wonderful orchard we started as soon as we bought the house.
Because, yes, we bought it.
The structural side was almost perfect, husband is a civil engineer and told me the house can stand for at least 300 more years.
There’s indeed a lot of work to be done, since it’s a ruin, but the beams are excellent, the foundation is really great and the walls only need minor work, plus finishing.
When we bought it, the vine looked almost dead, as you can see it went back to life during summer and we ate some really delicious grapes.
This is the view from the orchard (see the very little trees we have planted there). There’s a small garden (where the corn is), which was enough for some organic veggies for us to eat and the house down the hill.
My daughter was 2 years and a half back then and fell in love with that little skinny dog, whose master didn’t care for.
One month after this, we adopted the pooch, named him Gu (it’s how daughter pronounced dog back then) and he’s a beautiful Carpathian Shepherd dog).
After being starved for 7 months of his young life, he didn’t grow as big as he should, but he’s still 65 pounds heavy and enough of a dog for us to have.
Foundation, wiring, heating system
We bought our ‘shack’ because it had a solid foundation and the work we need to do is mainly to repair some walls, take care of few tiles on the roof and do the floors.
Husband decided to take care of the wiring, so it’s in excellent condition now and we’ll also use the optimum heating solution for our situation.
If the house already has these, make sure they are in excellent condition, since repairs on foundation, heating or roofing are VERY expensive.
This means that you’d most probably get a way better deal (since you have to invest a small fortune to fix all these issues), or you’ll have to look for another property.
In our case we bought the house very cheaply, paying for the lot, mostly, since the house was in such bad condition. If it wasn’t the case, we’d have chosen another house.
The house size and your REAL needs
Huge houses are always enticing, since most people secretly dream about living in big luxurious mansions.
But how much money are you willing to waste for this? How much are you willing to waste in cleaning costs? Heating? Electricity? Maintenance? Taxes?
Always look for a house that’s enough for your family (or future family), but still not huge. This means less clutter and smaller costs in the years to come.
Distance from shops, hospitals, good schools
It’s not uncommon for people to move into a certain neighborhood just because this means their offspring will have access to one of the best schools in the city.
It’s not a bad idea to think about the distance from the nearest hospital and how fast the ambulance can get to you. Few minutes can make the difference between life and death.
Having shops around is also a great perk, this means less time spent in traffic and access to more great deals.
What else do you first look for in a new house? What can be a deal breaker or something that makes you really want to purchase a house?