Saturday, June 7, 2014

Update on our house hunting

We are deep into looking at property after property for our new retirement home. Searching through listings on the internet, reading between the lines.
I get that the job of marketing a property, entails piquing the interest of the potential purchaser by focusing on the positives and minimizing the negatives. This increases traffic.
Just needs some TLC (plan on spending a lot of money)
Cute (super tiny house)
Ranch (in the area we are looking that could mean a double wide manufactured home)
As is (better check that house thoroughly, i.e. mold, lead paint, asbestos). These are expensive things to correct.
Yes, we visited this place.

1. I recommend you use an agent. Trust me, they are able to see and do things you would be hard pressed to find. Even then, educate yourself as much as possible.

2. When working with your agent, be completely honest.
I talk about what is going on in my head. When looking at pictures together, I mentioned that I thought the carpet was UGLY and it will want to replace the carpeting. While this isn't a deal breaking, he knows I will be considering that when I make my offer.
After examination of a property, we tell him exactly what our absolute offer is going to be. I let him deal with original offers, counter offers etc.

3. Know your budget and stick to it. Note I didn't say, know what you qualify for. For us that means that when all of this is said and done we will be debt free. We will not be financing any of this. That budget figures into our offers.

4. Be realistic: we know that our budget means we won't be getting everything we want. It won't be pristine and we will have to need to

5. Know what is important and necessary vs. what you wish.
For us it must be structurally sound, have some land (1-5 acres), It needs access to water.
It would be great to have a garage, basement, fireplace, for this will save us money.
It would be nice that I actually like the interior vs. knowing that I am going to paint those peach colored cabinets in the kitchen.
I would love to stainless steal appliances. But realistically I have only seen one place in our price range that has them

6. Read deep into the listings sent to you by by agent to understand what is being said and what you will need to do to make a place work for you, I read the listing many, many times before I go to visit the property. I also look at the pictures many times, not just to see what is there, but to note what pictures aren't there.
One place we are going to visit next week, doesn't show a picture of the bathroom. It may mean nothing, but already in my head I am thinking it may need work.

7. TIP: When we visit a property, we take a camera and take loads of pictures. First I take a picture of the address. Our pictures include the general house, but it focuses on things we need to remember.
Example: at a recent walk through for an auction all the windows were wide open to lessen the smell of smoke in the house. What I took a picture of was where a picture had been on the wall, to indicate the nicotine build up on the walls. Knowing that information helped remember that special effort, special procedures, paints and extra money would need to used to compensate for the heavy build up of nicotine.

There you have just a few tips I have been learning as we look for our new home. We are still actively looking. This takes time and patience.
Have you any tips to share?


  1. Good luck in your search! We are hoping to start our own house/property hunt this Fall but I am going to head out and do some viewings early. It will help us get past the excitement of 'buying a house' and focus on what kind of house we would actually be buying. I want to be able to note the problem areas right away when we are really looking to purchase. I will be following along to be sure, thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  2. We bought our first house a year and a half ago. Once we decided to start saving for a house, we started looking online at houses in what we expected our price range to be. We quickly learned which neighborhoods had run down houses, and which ones had nicer ones. We drove by many houses in many neighborhoods to get a good idea of what our money could buy.

    When we started shopping, we had a rough idea what to expect for our money. The first few houses we saw were about what we expected. Then we walked into the house we ended up buying. It was much nicer than we expected. Turns out it had been on the market for 18 months because the seller was a bit (understatement) difficult to work with. However, we went through with it and our house appraised at nearly 50% higher than we paid for it. We had instant equity.

    Since it was our first house, we do have a mortgage. Rents in our city are really high, but our mortgage is very small. It is just over half of what we were paying in rent for a place half the size and in more risky neighborhood. We are paying extra on the principle and will have it paid off in 10 years.

    1. Skelton,
      What a wonderful deal. Great plan to pay down that mortgage!

  3. A ranch for a retirement house is a great idea! It will definitely be fun, once you bought the property you two loved. But before that, you have to face the challenge of house hunting. That can be overwhelming. And I hope you’ll soon find your dream house! Anyway, these are very helpful tips. Thanks for sharing!

    Darren Lanphere @ Mirr Ranch Group

  4. Thank you for sharing these tips! House hunting can be very overwhelming at times. But if you know exactly what to look for, and the right people to help, everything will be less stressful, and it can even be fun! Anyway, how are you doing with yours?

    Benny Daniel @ Finlay Brewer

    1. We found a great place & paid cash. We are happy campers.

  5. It’s good to hear about you being a happy camper now. Those are great tips to share with other people who are about to do some house-hunting themselves. For me, the best one is tip no. 7 – bring a camera and take loads of photos. I think that would enable a person to look at the property, and even ask for his or her friend’s opinion about it, without having the need to go over to the place repeatedly. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Tasha Reeves @ WCMTG

  6. Tasha,
    That is so very true. My camera was VERY helpful!