Buying A Home
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What are your non negotiables when buying a home?

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Re: What are your non negotiables when buying a home?

  • @NoneForUs Yes it does, and was a big factor when we were looking for houses. Makes a difference when you are wanting a guest room AND an office you will be in every day. Doesn't leave a lot of room for a dual use room like a lot of guest rooms can be :)

    My BEST advice for making your list is to think about how long you will be in the house. Our #1 at this point in our lives is always resale potential, so even if there is something we don't personally love we look at what most people would like. That's what put us in an established neighborhood.. if this had been the "forever" home it would have been in the middle of the woods! If you are looking to only be in the house for say 5 years, be prepared to let some of the specifics you would like go, and get into the location you will be able to sell fast when you are ready to move on.
    Thanks for the great advice!

    Unless there were unforeseen circumstances such as relocation or job loss, our first home will be our forever home. 
  • NoneForUsNoneForUs
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited February 2015

    Our house is about 1500 square feet and we could seriously chop off one entire room that we never use.  Many of our friends own huge houses and they either have no kids or plan on only having one or two kids.  I have a hard time understanding the appeal of a huge house.  To me, it's just more cleaning, a higher mortgage, and likely rooms that will never be use.



    A large home is a status symbol. Nobody really NEEDS a huge house unless they have many family members or a home business. Multigenerational households require a lot of space for the occupants to be comfortable. I could also understand pet owners with multiple animals wanting a bigger house. Nevertheless, people spend their money on whatever makes sense to them. 

    I don't know how many square feet the house I grew up in was. However, my parents had four children so even a four bedroom home meant two of us had to share.

    I can't imagine living in a four bedroom home with just my husband and our cat. 
  • julieanne912julieanne912
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited March 2015
    We just closed on our first house together at the beginning of February.  It's my 3rd owned home, his 2nd.  We both had some "must haves" that we weren't able to find in a resale home remotely in our price range so we ended up building a brand new semi-custom.  It took 11 months and we had to move twice because our former home (his home that I moved into) sold in 12 hours above the asking price.  Here's our list!

    1) at least an acre (both of us and ended up with 1.17 acres)

    2) Either no HOA or HOA that will allow a camper to be parked outside and not in an outbuilding (both of us, got the latter)

    3) Within 30 minutes of Denver airport (both of us, and we got this, FI travels weekly)

    4) Gas stove and vented hood (mine, and got this)

    5) Public utilities (his, and got this except sewer, ended up with septic)

    6) Open great room living/dining/kitchen with room to host Thanksgiving dinner (mine and got this)

    7) 3 bedrooms plus 4th bedroom or office (mine, and didn't get this but compromised because the floor plan is great, and we have a full basement with 9 foot celings to finish later.  We have 3 bed/2 bath 1856 sq ft currently)

    8) Minimum 3 car garage deep enough to fit his F-250 truck (his, and we got this)

    9) Not a lot of work needed (his, and obviously got this since it is new, although there's lots of landscaping to do)

    11) Outbuilding (his, and we didn't get this. Had the builder draw up plans to do later though)

    10) Under $400,000  ( didn't get this, we spent $437,000 and then $18,000 for concrete work right after closing for a driveway, but we figure we got almost all of what we wanted)

    We didn't have any actual square footage requirements as it is all about a floor plan/layout, and building new meant we could have what we wanted in terms of finishes, lighting, etc.  We picked out all of that from scratch (not from a builder show room)

    This is our "30 year" house where we will start our family, so it's very nice we were able to get most of what we wanted (and will have all of what we wanted once we do the basement a few years down the road)
    NoneForUs
  • My non-negotiable was a multi-family home so I could earn some rental income for my house.  Which certainly came with a lot of sacrifices.  I could have bought a house with more living space for us in a nicer neighborhood if we had been buying for just us.

    The housing stock in my city (NOLA) meant a lot of my most important wants were just not going to happen. For example, I really wanted the typical "open space" so anyone in the kitchen can talk to anyone in the living room.  I know it sounds silly, but my biggest want was an enormous walk-in closet.  However, most of the houses in NOLA are over 100 years old, so virtually none of them had either of these wants :(.

    And here is where I get creative.  Although I haven't done it yet due to other more pressing renovation needs, I am going to turn one of the bedrooms in my house into that enormous walk-in closet I want ;).  Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do about an open floor plan.  It would almost require a total gut job to make that happen, because there are walls and a bathroom in the way of the kitchen and the living room.  But that's okay.  I accepted that drawback, live with it, and enjoy the many and other charming features of my house.

    After all, if I had a more modern house with a open floor plan, I bet I wouldn't have the awesome 12 foot ceilings throughout the entire house like I do now ;).   

  • My non-negotiable was a multi-family home so I could earn some rental income for my house.  Which certainly came with a lot of sacrifices.  I could have bought a house with more living space for us in a nicer neighborhood if we had been buying for just us.

    The housing stock in my city (NOLA) meant a lot of my most important wants were just not going to happen. For example, I really wanted the typical "open space" so anyone in the kitchen can talk to anyone in the living room.  I know it sounds silly, but my biggest want was an enormous walk-in closet.  However, most of the houses in NOLA are over 100 years old, so virtually none of them had either of these wants :(.

    And here is where I get creative.  Although I haven't done it yet due to other more pressing renovation needs, I am going to turn one of the bedrooms in my house into that enormous walk-in closet I want ;).  Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do about an open floor plan.  It would almost require a total gut job to make that happen, because there are walls and a bathroom in the way of the kitchen and the living room.  But that's okay.  I accepted that drawback, live with it, and enjoy the many and other charming features of my house.

    After all, if I had a more modern house with a open floor plan, I bet I wouldn't have the awesome 12 foot ceilings throughout the entire house like I do now ;).   

    I think earning rental income is a very smart idea. Good luck on the renos to get your amazing closet! I hope you post pictures. 


  • I just found out that the house I grew up in was 2700 square feet. My family used every inch of that space because I had three siblings. 2700 square feet would be too large and expensive for my husband and I to maintain. 
  • @NoneForUs, thanks!  Being a landlady certainly isn't for everyone but, for me, it was one of the best financial decisions I have ever made.  I've also been fortunate that I've had great tenants, so far.  In fact, it's been such a good experience I am currently looking for my next rental property.

    I did finally get all my "renos" done and now I am working on my "upgrades".  But I am tackling putting a big deck on the back of the house first.  I'll definitely post pics as I start finishing up the deck and then the big closet!

    I agree with you, before I bought a house, I always thought "BIGGER is BETTER".  But really, the RIGHT size is best, which is going to be different for different sized families.  My current living space is about 1100 sq. ft., but it is just me and DH.  It's a little cramped right now, but that is only because we don't have things set up and organized properly.  I am also going to be putting in a large built in bookshelf on an accent wall.  We're building it almost all the way up to the 12' ceiling and are then going to put in one of those fancy sliding ladders (squeal!).  Once the bookshelf and closet projects are done, we'll have a lot more room to store our things. 

    NoneForUs
  • @NoneForUs, thanks!  Being a landlady certainly isn't for everyone but, for me, it was one of the best financial decisions I have ever made.  I've also been fortunate that I've had great tenants, so far.  In fact, it's been such a good experience I am currently looking for my next rental property.

    I did finally get all my "renos" done and now I am working on my "upgrades".  But I am tackling putting a big deck on the back of the house first.  I'll definitely post pics as I start finishing up the deck and then the big closet!

    I agree with you, before I bought a house, I always thought "BIGGER is BETTER".  But really, the RIGHT size is best, which is going to be different for different sized families.  My current living space is about 1100 sq. ft., but it is just me and DH.  It's a little cramped right now, but that is only because we don't have things set up and organized properly.  I am also going to be putting in a large built in bookshelf on an accent wall.  We're building it almost all the way up to the 12' ceiling and are then going to put in one of those fancy sliding ladders (squeal!).  Once the bookshelf and closet projects are done, we'll have a lot more room to store our things. 

    We have an 1100 sq feet apartment and it feels just right to us.

     I'm told houses feel roomier because of the separate floors. 
  • I could see that, but my house is only one floor anyway.  But it is a really weird layout.  Normal for NOLA, weird for most other places.

    They style is called a "shotgun".  They are basically houses that are long, but only one room wide.  And one room flows into the next without hallways.  They are built that way because, back in the days before A/C (because this is the Deep South), you could open the front and back doors and turn the house into a wind tunnel.

    And the term "shotgun" comes from the joke that you can shoot a shotgun from your front door and the bullet will pass all the way through the house and out the back door without hitting anything.

    My side of the duplex is technically a 3 bedroom.  Except one of the bedrooms is totally open and without a wall to the living room, so it is really more like an extra big living room.  Then the next bedroom is freakishly small for a bedroom...but perfect for a big closet ;)...plus people from both ends of the house would have to walk through it to get to the bathroom.  For me, the only "true" bedroom is actually an addition that was built at the end of the house sometime in the 60s.   

  • I could see that, but my house is only one floor anyway.  But it is a really weird layout.  Normal for NOLA, weird for most other places.

    They style is called a "shotgun".  They are basically houses that are long, but only one room wide.  And one room flows into the next without hallways.  They are built that way because, back in the days before A/C (because this is the Deep South), you could open the front and back doors and turn the house into a wind tunnel.

    And the term "shotgun" comes from the joke that you can shoot a shotgun from your front door and the bullet will pass all the way through the house and out the back door without hitting anything.

    My side of the duplex is technically a 3 bedroom.  Except one of the bedrooms is totally open and without a wall to the living room, so it is really more like an extra big living room.  Then the next bedroom is freakishly small for a bedroom...but perfect for a big closet ;)...plus people from both ends of the house would have to walk through it to get to the bathroom.  For me, the only "true" bedroom is actually an addition that was built at the end of the house sometime in the 60s.   

    My best friend lived in one of those in NYC! There they called it railroad style. I can see it working for a couple, but she was there with a light-sleeping, passive aggressive roommate and it was ROUGH. I figured it was just the sacrifice of living in NYC. Her rent was still 3x what mine was for a similarly sized but traditional layout place in Boston.
  • @Xstatic3333, I agree.  It's really nice for a couple or a single person, but it would be so difficult with roommates.  Yet, people do it all the time down here.  My tenant side is 2 bedrooms, but is a little more sectioned off than my side.  There is still an open hallway with out doors that goes up one side, but there are at least walls between all the rooms.

    I've had four sets of tenants since I bought the house.  Three of them were couples and one was a couple with an 8-year-old son.  No roommate-roommates yet, though I've had some come look at the place when it is available.  I always describe it over the phone before someone comes for a showing, when I know it is a roommate situation.  Half the time they are no longer interested and the other half of the time it is, "No problem!  We get along great and are both quiet...etc., etc."

    And I'm sure the rents in NOLA are 5x LESS than Boston and 10x less than NYC, lol.

  • I've never heard of shotgun houses. Maybe we have them up here but they are called something different? 

    I just saw a house with no yard and no laundry hookups. It had 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

    Very cheap but hell to the no. I suppose anyone who buys that house can always tear it down and rebuild on the land. I know my husband and I have to choose wisely and not just look at price. 
  • Location, we want to live in a curtain part of town, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths or enough room to add a second one, a basement (we live in an area where we get tornadoes), and a backyard big enough for a pool.
  • I've never heard of shotgun houses. Maybe we have them up here but they are called something different? 

    I just saw a house with no yard and no laundry hookups. It had 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

    Very cheap but hell to the no. I suppose anyone who buys that house can always tear it down and rebuild on the land. I know my husband and I have to choose wisely and not just look at price. 

    I grew up on the West Coast and never heard of shotgun houses either, until I mIs there anywhere in the house where, even a stackable laundry could be added?  If the price is great, you could always look into the possibility/price of adding the laundry hookups to that part of the house.

    I would have suggested building an outdoor shed and putting the laundry out there...I've lived in that configuration before.  I was worried about the inconvenience, but it wasn't a big deal at all.

    However, if there is no yard, than that idea is out.  Plus, unless no yard is fairly typical for the homes in the area, it's really nice to have at least enough of a backyard to put a grill and small table out on.

    NoneForUs
  • I've never heard of shotgun houses. Maybe we have them up here but they are called something different? 

    I just saw a house with no yard and no laundry hookups. It had 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

    Very cheap but hell to the no. I suppose anyone who buys that house can always tear it down and rebuild on the land. I know my husband and I have to choose wisely and not just look at price. 

    I grew up on the West Coast and never heard of shotgun houses either, until I mIs there anywhere in the house where, even a stackable laundry could be added?  If the price is great, you could always look into the possibility/price of adding the laundry hookups to that part of the house.

    I would have suggested building an outdoor shed and putting the laundry out there...I've lived in that configuration before.  I was worried about the inconvenience, but it wasn't a big deal at all.

    However, if there is no yard, than that idea is out.  Plus, unless no yard is fairly typical for the homes in the area, it's really nice to have at least enough of a backyard to put a grill and small table out on.

    Sorry hon...I just saw this now. No yard is not typical at all. We want a medium backyard.
  • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, the saying goes. In other words, the kind of property that appeals to you might not appeal to someone else. So you must analyze entire thing before buying a property from someone. Buying a property on main raid must be avoided to get rid of sound pollution.
    NoneForUs
  • We love our house! It's only a 1423 square foot townhouse but it is a perfect starter home. 
    We have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. There's a small deck in the backyard and the finished basement has pot lights. The only thing that I don't like is the laundry room is completely unfinished...not even some drywall or linoleum on the floor. We can fix that up though. 
    Thank you so much for all of your advice! 
    short+sassy
  • 1. An awesome kitchen with tons of counter space
    2. Space for 2 bedrooms and a home office, whether that be a 3rd bedroom, loft space, bonus space, whatever
    3. 2 or more bathrooms

    We also really like hardwood floors, but the house we've offered on (waiting for appraisal) doesn't have them. Everything else is so incredibly perfect, though, that we're willing to wait a few years until we can put in hardwoods :)
    NoneForUs
  • mles4242 said:
    1. An awesome kitchen with tons of counter space
    2. Space for 2 bedrooms and a home office, whether that be a 3rd bedroom, loft space, bonus space, whatever
    3. 2 or more bathrooms

    We also really like hardwood floors, but the house we've offered on (waiting for appraisal) doesn't have them. Everything else is so incredibly perfect, though, that we're willing to wait a few years until we can put in hardwoods :)

    I find that laminate floors have come such a long way. We have laminate in our great room and it looks just like hardwood. I don't know if you are willing to settle for laminate though. 

    We've been talking about upgrading in a few years. For that house, I would like a fireplace and a whirlpool bathtub. I don't care if we still have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. 
  • NoneForUs said:
    mles4242 said:
    1. An awesome kitchen with tons of counter space
    2. Space for 2 bedrooms and a home office, whether that be a 3rd bedroom, loft space, bonus space, whatever
    3. 2 or more bathrooms

    We also really like hardwood floors, but the house we've offered on (waiting for appraisal) doesn't have them. Everything else is so incredibly perfect, though, that we're willing to wait a few years until we can put in hardwoods :)

    I find that laminate floors have come such a long way. We have laminate in our great room and it looks just like hardwood. I don't know if you are willing to settle for laminate though. 

    We've been talking about upgrading in a few years. For that house, I would like a fireplace and a whirlpool bathtub. I don't care if we still have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. 
    IMO, even better than laminate floors, are tile floors that look like hardwoods.  They are so practical and the appearance is even better than laminate.  Don't get me wrong, laminate floors look great, I installed them in one of my rental units.  But I can tell a laminate floor is not hardwood just by looking at it.  With wood-look tiles, I can't tell they aren't hardwoods unless I crouch down and touch one.  I just installed that type of flooring in one of my other rental units.  I am now a total convert!
  • NoneForUs said:
    mles4242 said:
    1. An awesome kitchen with tons of counter space
    2. Space for 2 bedrooms and a home office, whether that be a 3rd bedroom, loft space, bonus space, whatever
    3. 2 or more bathrooms

    We also really like hardwood floors, but the house we've offered on (waiting for appraisal) doesn't have them. Everything else is so incredibly perfect, though, that we're willing to wait a few years until we can put in hardwoods :)

    I find that laminate floors have come such a long way. We have laminate in our great room and it looks just like hardwood. I don't know if you are willing to settle for laminate though. 

    We've been talking about upgrading in a few years. For that house, I would like a fireplace and a whirlpool bathtub. I don't care if we still have 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. 
    IMO, even better than laminate floors, are tile floors that look like hardwoods.  They are so practical and the appearance is even better than laminate.  Don't get me wrong, laminate floors look great, I installed them in one of my rental units.  But I can tell a laminate floor is not hardwood just by looking at it.  With wood-look tiles, I can't tell they aren't hardwoods unless I crouch down and touch one.  I just installed that type of flooring in one of my other rental units.  I am now a total convert!
    I've never seen tile hardwood floor installed; only as a sample so I can't give my opinion.
    I think it depends what kind of laminate is used in terms of how real it looks.
    My neighbours just put laminate in and ripped up their hardwood floors because their children and dog ruined the hardwood. They like laminate but it is all a matter of preference.
    short+sassy
  • My first home:

    2 bedroom
    1 hall
    1 Kitchen
    3 Bathroom
    Basement

    I think this is enough for me, my wife & my 5-year-old baby. 

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