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The Challenges of House Hunting

Recently I’ve had the first-time experience of shopping around for my first home. That’s right, for me, the days of care-free, maintenance-free renting, small storage spaces, and restrictive landlord policies on everything from decor to parking spots have grown tiresome, and I’m ready to finally take the plunge into full fledged homeownership. The challenges of home shopping have proven to be more than just where to get the best mortgage deal, definitely.

In just a few short days of house hunting, I’ve discovered there are definitely some frustrations to deal with, as well as “expectation adjustments” that I have to personally make if I expect to find a house I will be happy in for at least ten years, that I can both afford and find aesthetically pleasing.

Another potential challenge I can foresee in my home shopping endeavor is choosing a home that I can feel relatively confident will have a good resale value when we sell it ten or fifteen years down the road. This is a tough one though, that can be changed in the blink of an eye sometimes by variables that are beyond your personal control.

Unless you purchase your home in a desirable “gated community” or some other exclusive community, which often comes with price tags in the mid six figures, or upper six figures, and also has enormous property taxes, you pretty much cannot “guarantee” a home’s resale value will go up in relation to inflation and housing costs.

There are always going to be unforseen circumstances that could potentially come into play in the future that you may not have any control over. For example, a sewage treatment plant or other chemical or hazardous material plant may be built in the area, which could cause property and housing value to drop. On the other hand, these types of variables can also work in your favor.

Some people who have been in their homes for fifty years have realized tremendous profits from selling, especially if their home is in an area that has been built up in recent years. Many professionals may be willing to pay big bucks for the opportunity to live closer to where they work, and with metropolitan development, comes more big, corporate jobs and more community money and income.

There are other issues that have to do with affordability, convenience, and functionality as well that I didn’t necessarily give much thought to before I started seriously perusing the new home listings. Issues like well water vs. city water and sewage, and the type of heating and cooling system used can make a huge impact on your home buying decision.

So far I’ve concluded that for us, buying a home with gas heat is important, as that will keep our heating costs down and seems to be the most efficient heating method. You may even want to ask the owner or the realtor if they can provide you with the owner’s heating and electric bills for the past few months so you gauge whether you can properly budget these types of every day living expenses.

You will also want to remember to ask or at least confirm which appliances the owners will be leaving behind. For example, do they plan on leaving the referigerator, the dishwasher, the stove and oven? Most times the kitchen appliances are standard, but sometimes owners plan on taking these with them, and you’d want to consider that as well.

Other minor considerations are things like garbage disposals, window treatments like blinds and curtains and other more cosmetic or minor conveniences that can definitely add to the appeal of the house. Some owners will leave behind the window treatments and other items that are more of a decorative nature, because they may not fit the windows of their new residence.

As you can see, there are so many considerations to think of when looking for a new home and then weighing your options when you’ve narrowed your search down to a few select homes. In the end, you will usually go with the home you feel you could most picture yourself in though. I’d suggest writing down the things that are most important to you in a home, and remembering to bring this list along on your showings. You’ll be glad you did.

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