Matt and I have been in the process of house hunting since last fall. I mean honestly, we haven’t been serious about finding a house until the last few weeks. You see, right now we live at my parents lake house (and never want to leave sorry mom and dad- kidding of course). My parents graciously allowed for us to stay here while we got into the new routine of married life and got ourselves prepared financially for a house to call ours.
Through the house hunting process I have learned there are lots of things you need to keep in mind while house hunting.
Figure out how much you’re willing to spend first and foremost. We are renting so we have our max monthly budget that we are willing to give on. BUT we have made this less than what we can afford simply because rent is just one piece of the puzzle. Think about it, you have your monthly rent (or mortgage), your electric bill, gas bill, water bill, random other bills, etc. and all those expenses add up fast.
Let’s say you want to spend around $1,000/month to rent somewhere. You should likely budget for at least $1,500/month in order to have enough for all expenses etc.
Here’s what Matt and I have run into multiple times. Exhibit A: perfect house, perfect budget, dog friendly (praise the lord), perfect size, everything we want, but it is in just a horrible part of town. The part of town where you’re like ummm I don’t feel safe parking my car out front. You know what I mean? Just not super safe.
The area is super important to Matt and I. And for some, that means being in downtown or the up and coming area of your town. For us, we need to be somewhat near the highway but also in a safe area.
What are your “must haves”?
Things that are important to Matt and I might be different than the things that are important to you. For example, the things that we consider important to us are fenced in yard (or the ability to possible put up our own fence), dishwasher, and laundry hook ups.
I could care less if there is a jacuzzi bathtub (but that would be super nice), or if there are 6 bedrooms, or just one sink in the bathroom (although two would be super nice).
What’s something you can give on?
Maybe the distance to work doesn’t make a difference to you. Maybe you don’t mind washing your own dishes in the sink everyday. Maybe you don’t have to worry about a large dog to find somewhere to live in so you don’t care about a big yard. Maybe you don’t care if there is street parking or a garage. Regardless, it’s important to know what sort of things you don’t mind giving in to.
Currently the commute from where Matt and I live to our gym is 45 minutes to about an hour if there is traffic. That means that annnnyyyywhhhheerrreee we move to will be closer. I don’t mind driving but Matt isn’t a huge fan of driving. Therefore I wouldn’t mind living not super close to where I work if it means living closer to where he works.
Your vision for how you want your house to look is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Think about it, you want to come home and feel comfortable in your home. Whether you’re renting or you own your home you need to be sure that the vision you have for your house is something that you enjoy and will love.
For me, I can’t have a house with few windows. I love the natural light and the idea of windows. But, I could care less if there is carpet or hardwood floors. Of course I would love hard woods but then I’d have to find some pretty rugs to put over the hardwood and that stresses me out. Thinking about your vision and what you want your home to be like is what’s most important in finding your vision.
Research. Research. Research. Realizing that I wasn’t going to find our house in the first week that we began searching wasn’t something I was expecting at first. It was a super big adjustment for me to realize that finding a house to rent (or if you’re in the market to buy) takes lots of time and research! Not to mention lots and lots of patience. Phew. I’m serious. Now I’m going to get back to researching after having posted this post.
What are your house hunting tips?