Things To Consider When Buying Your First Home

New classic house

I’m the first to admit that when we were house shopping for our first home I was a total novice and in way over my head. I knew the features in a house that we wanted,  like number of bedrooms and location, but as we settled into our new home I was quickly faced with all of the things I wish I had considered.

Buying a home shouldn’t be a fast process. We probably moved a little quicker than we should have. We were excited and under a bit of a time crunch. Having said this we could have done more homework and research. We did find a great home that could potentially last us a number of years (with a few tweaks) but I can’t help but think we could have done better.

features of a new house

Image via James.Thompson

Things/Features I Wish I Had Considered When Home Shopping

The entryway of the house

This feature didn’t even cross my mind. I opened the door and walked through the house when viewing it without considering the entryway itself. We have a split level home with a non-existent entryway. Simple tasks like bringing groceries in are a pain in the butt. Now that we have a little one, it’s even more difficult. My next home will have a large enough entryway for a small closet and a place to put things down when walking in, out and through the home.

Proper storage in the house

I made sure the bedrooms had reasonable closets, a place for linens and basic home needs like dishes, coats, food. I figured our furnace room would be enough for ”everything else”. I seriously underestimated how much storage we actually need. What we really need is a garage or shed. A place to store totes full of camping gear, baby stuff as she grows and items such as lawn mower, rakes, brooms. If we stay in this house more than a few more years, finding more storage will be a necessity.

Property level

We lucked in with this, our land is pretty flat and our street is at the top of a hill which means we get pretty good overall drainage but this was not a conscious decision when we bought. Friends of ours bought a house on a street that is at the bottom of a huge hill, where last fall, when the gutters were blocked with leaves, more water than normal drained into their property causing a huge flood. This is why cleaning your gutters out is not a task you should view as trivial. Places like Total Roofing can explain the importance of this, more in depth than I can. Apparently this was a known issue in the neighborhood and a big reason behind the great price. The previous owners didn’t have an issue themselves so they had nothing to disclose upon sale. Both next door neighbors had floods at least once before though. I will be very mindful of the property itself when buying our next home in terms of drainage and maintenance.

(Note from Daisy: This is definitely something to consider if you want to keep your house an asset – if it was one already – instead of a liability!)

Neighborhood and location

Ok we did consider this but I wish we had done more homework. When looking at a home check it out at different times of the day. Any time we viewed the home it was during the day. We were so excited about how quite the area was. It was quiet because the kids were in school and everyone was at work! Had we checked out the area during different times we would have realized there are a ton of kids in the street every evening and almost always a huge pack of teenagers hanging out at the park at the end of the street. I don’t mind kids playing but the noise from the park drives me insane.

We’re also very close to an Airforce base. I knew it was close but I didn’t consider how much noise we would hear during helicopter training. Not so bad during the day, super annoying to have a flyover at 11pm at night with a baby in bed and an open window.

Another thing to check out when considering the location of your potential new home is security. If the house has a security system like Livewatch.com, regardless of the location, you will be able to enjoy far more peace of mind.

Buying your first home is a very exciting time. Make sure you’re able to keep your emotions in check and maintain your constructive criticisms when viewing homes. Though you will likely have to be flexible in your first home, don’t give up looking for the things that are really important to you and your family.

What features were you looking for in your home when you first bought it? 

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29 thoughts on “Things To Consider When Buying Your First Home

  1. Love this, Catherine. It always seems like buying your first house is kind of a preparation experiment for buying your next house. It takes awhile, especially after you have kids, to really know what’s important to you in a house. We just bought our third house last year, and we’re still learning about the house buying process and wish we would’ve done some things differently. One day, maybe, expertise in this area will come, and then we’ll write and book and make millions teaching others how to avoid our many mistakes in this area. 🙂

    • Haha. I feel like I want to stay in this house long enough that we figure out exactly what we want so we can move into our forever home next. We’ll probably be here another 5 years.

  2. These are all good things to think about. Where I live, there’s a lot of flooding, so buying at the bottom of a hill is never a good idea. We didn’t think about it when we first bought, but now we know to always keep it in mind!

  3. It’s so easy to forget about things like the neighborhood when rushing into a sale. I’ve heard of people scoping out neighborhoods for weeks before buying, but not everybody has the luxury of time on their side.

    I’m with you on split level house inconveniences… my in-laws house is built just like that and it is a pain to get a bunch of groceries in the kitchen.

  4. Location and lot size are high on my list of attributes when shopping for a home. Because of this, it may be some time before we find that place we want to reside for the next ten or twenty years.

  5. The biggest for us were cost, neighborhood and school zones. Of course making sure it was close to the beach was a big part as well. Though we are in a low area and flooding does tend to happen. Like my friend says its “the cost of doing business”.

    • Fair enough! As long as your aware of the potential there won’t be a surprise. We lucked in With school zone though it won’t matter much since we will likely move before kiddo starts or within her first year.

  6. I wish I would’ve considered the school system before we bought our house. We didn’t have kids so we didn’t really think about it.
    If we lived about ten minutes south, we would be in an award-winning school system. =/

  7. Oh gosh this hits close to home. We bought a house last October and when we had literally floodlike rains, the city’s drainage system couldn’t handle the water. Our house and our neighbors house both flooded in the basement (thankfully we had a sump pump and cleaned it up quickly, but stills!). I’m just glad I didn’t landscape yet so I can kind of factor that in when I plant shrubs and other things that can soak up the water.

  8. All great tips, and worth time considering before buying a house. If I could add a few, I would also say it’s worth checking out commute times (I sense a post idea here). Also, doing a full assessment of potential remodeling/repair costs. This is something that I think trips up some new homeowners, who get upset at how much they have to spend early after buying but could have planned ahead.

  9. This is great advice, especially the one about drainage! We bought our house on a hill by total luck. This has saved us a few times in recent years. Houses just down the street from us aren’t quite as lucky. This will definitely be a consideration in our next home purchase.

  10. I can really identify with the neighborhood thing! I really, really wish I had thought about this more before I moved into my “hood”. At first it was all good with no one around being alone in a new build subdivision. Then the other houses starting getting built, and the people that filled them up didn’t do so very long, and now there is hardly anyone left around me. I can’t wait to see my property value. No doubt its NOT going up! 🙂

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