People are moving every single day, and all for various reasons. You may be a first-time homebuyer, or a seasoned veteran when it comes to buying and selling homes. Either way, one thing that’s certain is you have some sort of criteria that you’re looking for in your next home. Although you may not have a written-out house hunting checklist, there are probably some things that are on your must-have list. It can be a bit overwhelming and stressful each time you move, so here’s a simplified list of what’s truly important.
The number one thing to note is location, location, location! You can always move houses, but you can’t always be in the best location that is right for you and your family. Some important factors in the new area you’re looking into may include:
Price – Always be mindful of your budget in each set location.
Crime rates – There are crime maps available to ensure you’re moving to a safe location.
School zoning – If you have children, check the schools in the area, or make sure their current school is zoned for the neighborhood you want to move to.
Noise levels – If you’re by a busy interstate or sporting complex, you may want to reconsider the location if the noise will bother you.
Recreational activities and nature – Some areas have walking or biking trails, lakes for water activities, parks, etc.
Amenities – Pools, libraries, etc nearby may be a bonus for you.
Traffic flow – If you commute longer distances, you may want to be mindful of the traffic.
Shopping – Malls, outlets, town centers nearby are all nice perks!
Dining – Restaurants, local coffee shops, etc. are some things that win people over when it comes to location.
Proximity to downtown – If you work downtown or go there often, you may want to live nearby. On the flip side, if it’s too busy for your liking, you may want to make sure you’re far enough away from it.
Proximity to airport – If you travel a lot for business or pleasure, this may be something to consider.
Proximity to public transportation – If you use public transportation, you’ll want to be closeby.
Distance from work – Make sure you’re comfortable with the commute you have to and from work each day.
House Hunting Checklist: Interior
Although you may have the basics down of what you’re looking for, you need to remember what can be changed and what can’t be. And it’s easy to become wrapped up in colors and design, but those are cosmetic changes that can happen at any time. There’s a difference between buying a fixer upper home, and a home you can move into and implement minor changes overtime. Of course you need to be mindful of that for budgeting purposes, but there are some things to take into consideration that either cannot be changed or would be very costly. These include:
- Size of house. If you entertain a lot, you want to make sure you have enough space for everyone.
- Number of bedrooms. If you’re growing your family, or have out of town guests that stay with you, you’ll want to make sure that you have the appropriate number of bedrooms.
- Number of bathrooms. It’s expensive to add more bathrooms, especially because of plumbing. Make sure that you have enough bathrooms to fit your needs and your family’s needs.
- Integrated fixtures and systems. Things such as electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, wires, pipes, etc. can be costly and difficult to fix.
- Condition of the flooring and walls. Sometimes, there can be a bigger issue. Water damage, termites, structural issues are all real possibilities that are expensive and difficult to fix.
- Any foul odors coming from the house. Foul pet odors are a pain but typically fixable at a small extra cost. However, mold and mildew can be harmful to your health as well as to your wallet.
- Unpermitted additions. If you see an extra room or bathroom that wasn’t advertised, it’s possible that it is because it’s not properly permitted. They’re not always completed up to code, therefore not always safe. You’d also have to take on the added cost to get the work permitted or in some cases, removed. If the city finds out about an unpermitted area, they can even fine you.
House Hunting Checklist: Exterior
- Lawn. While it’s fairly common to see brown spots on even the best kept lawns, it’s not always harmless. In some instances, those spots can indicate fungal disease. If your lawn floods a lot, you’ll also need to be mindful of that. Any odors or soggy and wet spots when it’s not raining can be a sign of a broken sewer line. All these issues are expensive to fix and can lead to even bigger problems if they’re not addressed in a timely manner.
- Roof. A new roof is one of the most expensive things to fix on a house, if not the most expensive. Make sure the roof isn’t too old and in good condition.
- A/C. The a/c is also fairly expensive to replace, and something to checkout before you buy a home.
If you’re moving into a community, you want to know any rules/regulations ahead of time. Most communities have HOAs. Not only do HOAs involve additional monthly or quarterly fees, but they also mean you may not have as much freedom as you would like when it comes to making changes to your home. If you want to pave a new path to your front door, or add a fence around your backyard, you’ll need to make sure it would be approved by your HOA before purchasing.
If you’re looking to buy a new home, keep this house hunting checklist in mind. You may want to consider working with an expert real estate agent. Trelora can help you find the best house for you and your family, while guiding you through the entire process.
Brock Embree joined Trelora in 2017. In 2018, he was part of the founding team that opened Trelora’s Seattle, Washington office, their first expansion beyond Colorado. In 2020, he repeated the process, opening yet another new market for Trelora in Arizona. His team has closed over 200 deals in Phoenix and has expanded to serve Tucson in addition to their growing customer base in Phoenix.