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Hello 2020! A new year is here and for lots of people the search of a place to call their own has started! As a result, i wanted to take you on my experience and leave some tips and advices of what to look for when buying a house for the first time.

Thankfully me and my husband fulfilled this goal last year in June and what a ride it was! But to give you some context i’ll recap a little on how we got here.

We got married in March 2017, then we moved into an apartment in the city close to where my husband works.

Since it was just as two, an apartment of 02 bedrooms seemed great and easy to maintain. After 1 year of just us, our family grew when our fury little friend joined in.

Don’t remember if i had mentioned it before, i’m a proud mamma of a frenchie bulldog called Nikuman (yep, i named my dog after my favorite japanese food lol) and he is the sweetest dog i have ever met.

I know, i know, everyone might say that about their dogs but mine really is sweet. Let me apologise right now because….

Let’s get back on track with the post…lol

Talks about getting a house…

Moving forward, we started talking about: what if we want to grow our family even more? Our apartment wouldn’t have space because one room was our bedroom and the other one was our home office.

There began our adventure.

As we started looking for houses to buy in the city, i started to get stressed and hopeless because the prices were absurd and the houses were tiny! Therefore, when we stopped and analyzed the situation, we realized that getting a bit further from the city would give us a better return for our money.

Less money, bigger houses.

Quick pause…

We didn’t talk of building our house because we knew we just didn’t have the money for it. But if you do, then go for it. That’s the easiest way to have everything you wished for, exactly how you wanted.

After a few months of searching we ended up founding the home we are living in today! It was not easy at all and we had to consider between various conditions.

I’ll list everything we looked for and i recommend you looking at it too:

what to look for when buying a house

What to consider when buying a new house:

Decide between an old or a new house

what to look for when buying a house

The first thing you will need to decide when buying a new house is if you want to invest in an old house or a newer one.

Be true to yourself and decide on how much work, time, patience and money you want to invest in your future house. Sure, buying an old house and flipping it like you see in tv seem wonderful.

But the truth is that, it is a LOT of work! More than you can even imagine.

Unexpected things can happen along the way that will make you have to expend even more than what you initially planned.

You’ll need to take all that into consideration when choosing which house to buy.

Old or new, have an inspection

It doesn’t matter if the house is old or new, since you didn’t saw it being built or renovated you need to make an inspection. Not making one may cost you even more later on.

Doing an inspection is an important leverage card, if you want to get out of a deal or negotiate a lower price so, i recommend NEVER skipping this step.

Make sure to check the house structure, electrical, plumbing, uneven or bouncy floors.

Another very important thing to check is, the Report of Residential Building Record. Make sure everything in the house was made according to the code and had permits.

A house is a big investment, remember you need to guarantee your and your family’s safety.

Check the roof condition

what to look for when buying a house

One of the first things you need to spot in a house is the roof’s state. Check if the roof:

  • Is it caving in?
  • Does it look new?
  • What’s the roof material?
  • What’s the roof age?

Buying a house is a really big step and believe me, you won’t wan’t to get stucked with having to replace your roof right after buying the house since, a roof replacement is really costly.

Ignore things like paint color

what to look for when buying a house

When we are looking for our dream home, we tend to see every little detail, like a door knob, old wallpaper or even a wall paint color. If it’s a little detail and it doesn’t require a lot of investment in your part then just ignore it.

As i said before, finding everything you wished for in a totally ready house is really difficult. Therefore, to make it easier on you, just ignore those little details.

Be open to see the house potencial!

List any dealbreakers

When i say to ignore little details we also have some pointers that can make us close or break a deal.

This is extremely important. Do not buy a house that has something you really hate.

You will end up hating that detail even more in case that, you don’t have the financial means to tackle that problem after buying the house.

Make your list of dealbreakers and keep it real. What do i mean with this? Sometimes our wish list/dealbreakers list doesn’t match with the market reality.

Check the prices around your neighborhood and the places you would like to live. That will give you a real expectation on what you can get with the money you’ve got.

Open your eyes for leak spots or cracks

what to look for when buying a house

If there’s anything that can give you real headaches and a financial hole that’s leak spots or cracks.

Let’s tackle our friends (that aren’t that friendly…) the cracks. It’s normal for houses to settle throughout the time and have some cracks. But when you can see what’s behind the cracks, that’s when you have to worry since, there may be some structural problems with the house.

Other big problems are leaks, and to me those are the worst. Leaks can lead to lots of problems depending on what way the water decides to go. The worst problem of all is black mold.

Extremely prejudicial for our health!

Be even more careful with leaks that are covered by paint, check the contract to see if the owner disclosed the existence of water damage in the house and where.

Check out the neighborhood

what to look for when buying a house

Another great thing to do is to check the area, see what amenities are available. Schools, supermarkets, walkability, pharmacies, hospitals.

If possible, check the neighborhood during various hours so can get the feel of the place (yep, it may sound kinda weird lol but it helps to find how noisy the place is, or is it smelly? was something being disguised during the visit?)

Think long-term

One thing i find to be really helpful when deciding how big of a place you want is thinking long-term, something like what you want in the next 10/15 years.

First child? More Children? Your first pet? More pets? Want your parents living with you?

Having in mind, in the clearest way possible, how you want to live your life is crucial to decide how big of a house you will need, and with that, how much work you will have to tend the property.

Be flexible about what you want/wish

what to look for when buying a house

As i mentioned before, be flexible with what you wish in a house. If you’r not going to build your home, finding a place you love 100% it’s almost impossible.

Be sincere with the things that will definitely make you happy and the things that you won’t be able to live with.

Poor Tiling

Open your eyes to poor tiling work!

This tip really helped me notice which homes had some DIY jobs done and so i could be able to be more careful and ask the right questions.

DIY jobs aren’t done by professionals so the chances that the person did not follow any codes is pretty big. You don’t want to buy a house to find out you’ll have to expend more money fixing the quick fix that the previous owner did.

Calculate correctly your budget

what to look for when buying a house

When we decided to look for a home we reached to our bank and asked to know how much of a mortgage we could be able to take on.

Knowing how much we had pre-approved we decided to leave 15-20% off for the inspection fee, closing costs, house insurance, property taxes and much more depending on where you are going to live.

Therefore, when calculating the money you will be able to expend for buying your place don’t forget to leave some money to pay the legal part.

Sometimes we get so exited about the house that we forget that, besides having to pay for the actual house, you will need to expend some more money on all the legal part.

I also found a really informative post from Dave Ramsey teaching how to budget for the new home, you can check it all here.

Test everything

I wished i had thought of testing everything before buying my house! Really, don’t be embarrassed to test everything in the house.

Open and close all doors and windows, turn on and off every single light, test all the bathroom taps.

Testing out everything in the house will also help you know how well conserved the house is and if everything is working smoothly or if you will have to fix anything.

I didn’t do that and i got some doors that didn’t shut and a weird electrical glitch. But, they were thankfully solved.

Have a great house hunt!

There you have my not so smooth process on finding a house and everything we looked into, as well as, everything we didn’t do.

Have you bought your house or are you in the process of looking for one?

Any more tips for people looking to become a new home owner? Leave a comment below!

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14 comments

  1. We looked at so many homes before we decided on the home we have been in since 1999. It seems like yesterday though and I can easily recall the stress you face when trying to make the biggest buying decision of your life. Do not let emotion could your judgement either. Just because you fall in love with a home doesn’t mean you have to buy it regardless of what you find wrong with it. Sure anything can be fixed but at what cost. What you see on TV when they buy homes is not the reality. I am handy and half of the jobs they do are more expensive than what they say they are on TV. They are redoing entire kitchens for $5000 when my cabinets alone cost $12,000. 🙂 These are great tips for anyone buying or looking to buy a home.

  2. This is such a great list of things to look for when buying a house. I like the idea of testing everything out and walking around the neighbourhood to get a proper feel for the area.

  3. These are awesome tips and things to look out for when buying a house! They can be easily overlooked but sometimes the small details like cracks and leaks can really put a damper on the experience!

    Kileen
    cute & little

  4. Great tips for first time home buyers! I especially like your suggestion to think where you want to be in 10-15 years. As first time homebuyers, my husband and I were extra cautious about budget (it seemed like so much money!) and I wish someone had told us to stretch our budget as we were young and at the beginning of our careers. Stretching in the beginning would have avoided the 3 moves we’ve made all in the same general area.

  5. Lovely read. I was closely related to the real estate industry for some time and recalled how I went about buying my apartment. This is such a complete guide for the benefit of all who are in the process of deciding their purchase.

  6. What great tips on what to look for when buying a home! We bought our house a few years ago and definitely could have used this kind of help. We had been in a hurry to find a place as we were moving to a new city and our previous house had already been sold. We ended up overlooking so many things in the house that we bought and now regret it. This is a great list on the things to keep in mind when purchasing a new home!

  7. I’m so terrified of buying a house – I worry that we’d end up making a big investment and end up not loving it! Reading through your tips makes me feel it’s doable if I’m careful and thorough.

  8. Congratulations on purchasing your home! You’ve offered a really good list of things to look out for – I wouldn’t have thought to take a close look at the tiling – but it makes sense to be aware of home owners who may have DIY-ed certain things in the home.

  9. My husband and I were just talking about the goal of buying a bigger home in the next year or so. These tips are so helpful! I am saving this post to return to when the time to start house hunting arrives. There are so many details to finding the perfect home that it can be overwhelming. Your tips on what is actually important versus what is frivolous is huge.

    1. So happy i helped! Buying a house feels really overwhelming, i was almost giving up but in the end everything got sorted out for the better. Keeping calm is another tip i should have putted in the list lol

  10. I’m planning to buy my own house sometime in my 30’s, within 5 years or so. Thanks for this. You have just given me an insight on what i should be looking for before buying a house.

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