First, lest I sound like a blooming know-it-all....I have indeed purchased a house before. We owned a house for a year that we thought we were going to be in for five or so when we first moved to Connecticut. Job shifts forced us to sell and from then on we were back in apartments.
A is an apartment kind of guy. He doesn't collect tools, he doesn't fuss over his lawn, he doesn't like to shovel snow, he's not into cleaning gutters and he kind of likes not knowing how the leaves all disappear off the lawn in the fall. He likes automatic systems, reserved parking spaces and calling up the landlord and ordering in his home repairs. I hate landlords, and apartments and reserved parking spaces. I want chickens, a clothesline, a private backyard where the boys can play football, a pantry to stack my shining canned goods in August, and a sense of ownership. I want to know that if we hate the flooring...we can rip it out and that nobody cares what color I paint the bathroom. A and I have our differences. But, as your family grows it becomes clearer and clearer that home ownership has its strong points for lots of kinds of people. And so A came around...(like he always said he would) and now we're planning out our strategy for picking a nest.
The common factors that are driving both of us towards our own place now?
1.) More space. Room for storage, toys, instruments, beds, extra babies...etc.
2.) A quiet study space where A can work from home undisturbed. Its really hard when he's at home for the day but the computer is in the living room.
3.) A nice lawn to romp on. A is excited about boy sports, I'm dreaming of picnics and outdoors watercolor painting.
4.) The ability to do what we want to our own home in the way of improvements. You can't order the landlord to put in nicer bathroom fixtures or more insulation just because you'd like it.
5.) Room for our books. We would like a room that we can just wall-to-wall with bookcases or at least more rooms where bookcases will fit. We have a lot of books.
6.) Some little space where we can tuck our guests when they come to visit. We want visitors!
7.) A more spacious kitchen. We both like to cook and eat and we want room to store our tools, food and cookbooks and then space for rolling out pie crusts, making Christmas cookies together, and cutting out homemade ravioli.
So, that's the stuff we have in common. There's lots more from my point-of-view but that gives you the gist of what we both agree on that has us hunting.
Here's a peek at my notebook:
And here's our list of Wants, Bonuses and Avoids to give you a peek into how we're weighing houses. Most of these criteria are mine (I am after all the homebody in the family so, I care a lot about these things.) and I have to say, I'm way pickier about houses than A is. *wince* I try not to let it bother me too much and I don't think it truly means that I'm a whiny, demanding, greedy home-buyer...I just want to buy carefully, and I care a lot about what makes a home.
* At least one acre of land (although truth be told I'm willing to consider .5 an acre and up if the rest of the house looks really appealing)
* Sun and shade (in the yard...this is for gardening)
* Three bedrooms (although four or more is what I'm really shooting for)
* Private master bath
* At least two full baths
* Bathrooms on each level
* Open kitchen floor plan
* Ample counter space
* Pantry/larder storage area
* Safe distance from the road
* Good commuting possibilities (direct connection to the metro within an hour of the city)
* History and character
* Master on the same level as kids rooms
* Room for a clothes line
* Space for: sewing, sleeping, eating, music, office, outdoors equipment, storage, lots of books, plants, homeschooling, boys and girls, private spaces, parental romance
* Air conditioning
* Nice Interior Light
* Room for a chest freezer
* Root cellar type storage
* Water on the property (streams, rivers or lakes...not plumbing)
* Hardwood floors
* Nearby grocery store (small is fine…even a convenience store)
* Other young families in the neighborhood
* Big southern exposure windows
* Great insulation
* New appliances
* Gas stove
* Clothes Line (already in place)
* Nice plantings (read historic plantings)
* Central Air
* Granite Counter-tops
* Big porch
* Slow traffic on the road out front
Things We Don't Want:
* Mold or musty smells
* Structural damage
* Swimming pool
* Ranch or raised ranch architecture
* Central Vacuums
And then just for a little extra information....here are some of the little tidbits about a house that would likely attract us.
* Tudor architecture
* Sidewalks for walking
* Wood Siding
* Pretty "designed" water features
* Expansive lawns w/ a little woods
* Longer driveways
* Pre-existing gardens
* Cottages, Colonials, Cape Cods, and Saltboxes