Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to hunt for a house!

We've been house hunting for two full years in March.


I feel that this makes me a little bit of an expert in how to look for a house.

Now, clearly, I'm not an expert in how to buy a house, because we still haven't bought one. We're not ridiculously picky, it's just that we've been outbid on a few houses at this point.

We started hunting for a new house in March 2012, when Joseph was 14 months and Andrew was a little blip in my stomach. Right now, we have a three bedroom house The Husband bought a year or two before I met him. Back before we had two boys, it was wonderful! Even when we had one child, it was pretty good. Now that we have two we're quickly running out of space. We'd love to have an extra bedroom for Grandma and Papa to stay in when they visit (instead of on the floor in the family room) and a nice finished basement that we can turn into a playroom (for now) and a teenage boy-cave when they get bigger. I'm also dying for a craft room!

So after looking at about 30-40 houses in the past two years (appointments and open houses), here are my tips for looking at houses.
Small House Clip Art

Tip 1: Avoid open houses with children
This is just chaos. There are often lots of other people and dragging kids with you just makes it harder. Try to find a babysitter if you really want to go to an open house (or make an appointment for a viewing).

Tip 2: Avoid any viewing with children
See above. Honestly, viewing a house with an appointment is really just as difficult. They touch everything and typically have to be carried around. Just try pulling them away from the toys they find at the other house. It's nearly impossible! Find a babysitter.

Tip 3: Hire a realtor
Our realtor is awesome! She gets us appointments quickly and writes everything down as we go through the houses. She's very prompt with responding to phone calls and emails as well. She's always willing to fight for us and really tries to get us the houses we've been bidding on.

Tip 4: Wear slip on shoes!
More than once, I've seen people trying to get their shoes on and off while whoever they are with is already on the third room! If you are seeing a bunch of houses in one day, wear easy shoes.

Tip 5: Have a must have list AND a wish list
We have certain things that we must have (i.e. four bedrooms, 2 car garage, eat-in kitchen, etc.) and we have a wish list of things that we would really like and possible push one house over another (i.e. main floor laundry, entrance from garage to house, etc.). The must haves are things we aren't going to negotiate on. The wish list is things that I hope they have, but if they aren't they then we aren't necessarily going to walk from a house. I think people often put things that should be on a wish list on their must have list and therefore miss the great potential of some houses.

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