Hey it’s me again.
Just dropped another episode of Making Our Way Home and this one is a goodie.
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I’ve just been over here scheming the real as fuck dilemmas of home design over this last past week. I have to say that I am super excited about this week’s blog because not only are we hitting the play button on episode #3 podcast and reading week threes post, but we’re going to be going over the right questions to ask and the right things to look for when your house viewing AND you’re also getting a free print out of the most perfect house checklist going.
This week’s post is going to focus on things to look at and consider when you are walking through potential existing homes. I am not going to touch too much on the process of buying a newly built home quite yet that is for next week. But you can still get your hands on a free print out this week that helps you through this process. Just make sure you are signed up for my mailing list (link at the end).
I hope everybody is doing well since the last time you decided to read and learn a few things. If you are Canadian, I hope you had a great turkey day and if you are not, well I hope you had a great week.
Now let’s waste no more time and get into this week’s helpful tips.
As most of you know and if you do not know, A and I purchased a newly built freehold townhome back in March and are still currently waiting to move in. Our closing date has now been pushed back twice and it is not because the builder has not finished our house, it is because our house resides on a private road.
There is a lot of details and a lot of jargon and a lot of things that happened but that is for next week’s post.
When we started looking at houses, we were looking at houses we thought we wanted. I will go back to that brilliant idea of us wanting a farm or at least a home that had a few acres.
We had a general idea of our must haves that we need it in the house, but it would have been a lot easier walking through if I had a check off list. That is why I have created this full proof walkthrough checklist. It allows you to compare each house that you walk through via a broken down overall pro and con list of each house.
For me when I was writing out my pro and con list, I was going off memory of what we saw in the house and I missed a lot of things. That is why this checklist is going to make that process of you comparing each home a million times easier.
It is a mix of the first print out that you received if you signed up for my mailing list. However, this time there is a lot more space for you to write your own notes and create your own pro and con lists.
A lot of times when people are selling their home if their realtor is good, they will bring in their own home stager. These home stagers are so good at what they do that they basically showcase the home in a generic non personalized design. this allows anybody to picture themselves living there. This also allows those stagers to come up with creative ways to make the house show a lot better than it previously looked.
You can always tell a home has been staged if you do not see any family photos or anything personalized to the people that live there. This is a selling tactic and do not be afraid to move things around like chairs that seemed to be put in a weird spot sometimes there’s a stain on the carpet and they used that chair to cover it. They also use this trick on hardwood as well so if you see an area rug make sure you lift it up to check the floor underneath it whether it be tile or hardwood.
Also, a big red flag for me is when people have a carpet on top of carpet. If you see an area rug on top of a carpet that covers the whole room, you might want to lift that up and make sure that the carpet underneath it does not need to be replaced.
People also tend to paint over a lot of damage. I remember one home that we saw had some wallpaper that was peeling, and they tried to match the paint colour to Patch it and it just looked awful. The same house also had a runner up the main staircase that was created out of the carpet runners with the rubber on the back that you usually set out in the wintertime. I did a double take because I do not really clue in the first time, I looked at it at what it was and then when I was noticing the beautiful banister I saw all of the staples. Yes, my heart shattered a little bit.
Having previously worked in the renovation world, I always know that checking for water damage is a must do on house listing. a great and easy way to see if there has been any water damage is to check the baseboards. A lot of times in newer houses the baseboards are MDF and if those get wet, they swell. There are homes that have wood baseboards as well and you can tell if water damage has been there because they will swell as well. You will see this a lot more in bathrooms and in the kitchen. You always want to look around any water pipes because there will be direct indications of water damage there whether it be swelling, mold, smell, or rotting. Water damage is awfully expensive to fix an I highly encourage that you really press your home inspector too look for these types of red flags.
In the two houses that A and I saw, we saw a lot of lipstick on a pig type fixes. All that was running through my head was “Oh my God my dad would have an aneurysm if he walked through this house right now”.
My dad is a master Carpenter and my Opa (his father) built houses for a living. Yes, my standards are high when it comes to craftsmanship especially woodwork. You could say I am a snob, and I would probably agree with you.
I am not bashing the previous homeowners at all do not get me wrong , I know that having an older home is a lot of work and there is a lot of things that break and you can no longer get because the house is that old. I am just a true believer of never painting over wood and when I see beautiful original Victorian homes bannisters being painted white it hurts my soul. I am a huge fan of natural woods and stains and I would rather shave my head then paint over it. In saying that I know not everybody likes wood or wood grains so sorry not sorry.
House hunting can take a lot out of you so please be kind with yourself and with your partner. Your realtor is there to help you through this process so do not ever think that you are leaning on them too much when it comes to finding the perfect house. That is their job and that is why they are there.
Just remember to be realistic about the home buying process especially when you find yourself walking through homes. You are never going to have everything on your must have list so do not get discouraged by that.
I mean hell if you are lucky you will find a house that has absolutely everything and some if you do kudos to you, I am jealous.
A big thing for us when we were searching was, we had a top five list. Number one was something that we could not live without in the house must habit and by number five it was something that we would like but if it was not there, we would not be butt hurt over it. I highly suggest that you sit down and find out what your top five things are.
As you know for us our original top five completely changed when we went and did a 180 and opted for a new build. The top five list sort of became obsolete but a few things like distance from work and price range still stuck.
If you are having trouble trying to really navigate the top five list here are some things that you might want to consider for that list:
-distance from work in school
-the year it is built
-the house itself is it moving ready does not need renovations
-does it have a lot of land is the backyard big enough
-number of bedrooms number of bathrooms overall square footage
-if it has a pool or a finished basement
These are just a few things that you could consider to be in the top five list. Those top five things will make the deciding process a lot easier on you. The house that has the most check offs on your top five list will most likely be the house that you place a bid on. However, there is that one time you walk into a house and it might not have anything on your list, but you have that feeling of home and that is totally OK. Do not fully Judge a house by your top five must haves, these are just a guideline to keep you on track and to keep you not overwhelmed when you are walking through the house.
I highly encourage you to add anything in everything to your pro and con list as well. I am talking even if you like the bathroom tile that is on the floor in the powder room to the light fixture in the walk-in closet. I am talking the little things the big things and everything in between. Keep nothing off that list and be brutally honest because the more notes you have, the more things you’re going to remember and the easier it is to decide if you want to bid on the House or not.
Keep in mind there is always a lot of questions that you should be asking when you are walking through these homes as well. Your realtor should be looking at the home and the listing before they even step foot on the property and should at least know a little bit of the back story behind the home.
Sometimes the listing agent does not provide all of the information and your realtor will have a hard time answering some of your questions, that is OK just remember to write down those questions that you have on the notes section in the print off. This allows your realtor to get those questions from you and get you the answers to those questions.
You might be sitting there and wonder what questions I should be asking so here are a few that you might want to consider:
Some questions you might want to consider asking when you are walking through a house are:
-what disclosures are there
-why is this house for sale
-how long has it been on the market
-has there been any serious flooding or fire damage
-has there been any additions added
-what is the neighborhood crime rate noise level
-where is the closest fire station, police station, hospital
-what school district is it and how far away is the school
-what type of neighborhood is this families or retired
-when was the last time the roof was shingled
-if there is a wood burning fireplace when was last time the chimney was swept
These are all things that your realtor should be able to get you the information for and if they ca not then that might be a red flag on your con list. The more information you can get about a home the better because that allows you to really compare in have a clearer understanding of what you are getting yourself into.
Some other things that you might want to look for when you are walking through the house that are big red flags would be:
-water damage or fire damage. You can find this by looking around any water pipes especially under kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks, you can look at the baseboards for swelling, you can look for Patch jobs and yellow stains.
-signs of pests
-an odd odor
-you want to make sure that the ground slopes away from your foundation
-you also want to look for cracks in your foundation because that can be a lot of dollar bill signs screaming at you
-you really want to look at the windows and see when those were last replaced. Those come with a hefty price tag too replace
-you also want to look at the roof because that can be a big cost as well and I am not only talking about re-shingling I am talking about your roof leaking and the damage that comes with that
-you are also going to want to look at your neighbors. Keep in mind that this is a house that you are purchasing. Your curb appeal will determine if you like where you are living or not. If you have great neighbors around, you that’s amazing but nobody wants to live beside a shitty neighbor. The cleaner they keep their property, the better for you.
Also, do not be afraid to knock on some neighbor’s doors and ask them about their thoughts on the neighborhood. People are going to give you their honest opinions because most times you catch them off guard and they are not ready to give you a glorified lie of a response.
These are all things that you can that you can barter with when it comes to conditions if you are looking to put an offer in and potentially get an amount off of the purchase price. Once again if you have a great realtor these are all things that they are going to notice and fight for you too get.
Like I said buying a house is a lot and there is a lot of things that you need to consider before laying down that dough. Hopefully, some of the things that I chatted with you today about shed some light and shed some of the stress and anxiety you might have towards buying a house. Keep in mind that these are all just guidelines not anything you have to fully base your home buying process on.
I am just over here giving you better options and making sure you do not fuck up where we did. Like I said before the home buying process should be a happy thing and that happiness should stick through with you throughout the whole process. If these print offs can help take away some of the stress and get you to that perfect home that is awesome.
That is a wrap on this week post of making our way home. I hope these points help you find what you are looking for.
Do not forget to sign up for my mailing list if you have not because that free printable will be coming at you in your inbox. And do not stress if you have not signed up for my mailing list yet, you still can all you have to do is hit the link in the description box below and once you sign up you will get the first printout that helps you figure out what the hell you want from your house and you will also be getting this week’s print out that helps you navigate house walkthroughs and figure out what house is going to work best for you.
Once again, I am Mel and you just read another post of making our way home where we scheme the real as fuck dilemmas of home design and the house buying process.
Thank you so much now stay savvy stay healthy and let’s fall in love with our homes.