As we begin to prepare our home to sell, we are also looking for a place to move. This is such a big decision. After looking at listings and walking through a handful of properties, we have narrowed it down to what we want in a home. Location, is number one on our list of importance. We wish to be within a reasonably drive time from our jobs. This is especially true for me, as some days after working a 12 (or more) hour shift, I am exhausted and do not want to drive a long distance to get home. After deciding on location we listed everything we wanted or desired and then narrowed it down to top five. We decided in addition to location, we definitely want more land to garden and raise chickens as well as add fruit trees. We also desired a first floor master bedroom and a basement. Our final list: Location, More Land, First Floor Bedroom and Basement. Other things that would be considered a bonus or in our “wish column” were pole barn, updated kitchen, sunroom, geothermal heating/cooling and extra living space for guests, or parents. All this is great, however, we left out the most important factor and that is price. What are we comfortable with for monthly payments? Sure we could have everything on our list, including the wants and wishes, however, we are not willing to live, work and breathe only for our home. We sat down and figured what we would be comfortable with as our monthly payments and went from there. Because we were pretty specific on a few things like drive time/distance from work, amount of land and first floor master bedroom, we were able to narrow our focus. We quickly learned that if we wanted over six acres, we needed to move much further north and that is just not an option at this time. We want the farm life, near the city and for the right price, therefore, only a handful of properties met that criteria. After spending almost a year looking at homes and walking through several, I finally clicked on a little gem listed on Realtor.com. It was in the right location, had a first floor master bedroom, a little sunroom and unfinished loft above the garage. This is it I thought! We finally found our little slice of earth! The house sits on three acres and is within walking distance of two apple orchards. There are no outlets or entrances/exits to other subdivisions so it should be fairly quiet. The street is full of apple trees, deer, and adorable homes, none of which look like the other, which is a big plus for me. The house has amazing charm and although it needs some TLC, we love it and within our budget. We did our homework as to what needed to be done for updates, calculated the cost and had our Realtor put in our offer based on that. We were elated when it was accepted and cannot wait to get started. Now, we just have to sell our current home!
Checklist and Highlights of what is important when considering a home:
- Monthly payments – What are you comfortable paying? Figure out your payment and work from there. Do not forget about insurance, property taxes and any association fees.
- Location – Decide where you want to live – how far are you willing to drive to work, shopping etc? Look at surrounding areas. Are there Streams? Lakes? Dumps? (we looked at a home and then found it was less than a mile from a large sanitation facility)
- Wish List – Make a list of what you cannot live without and what you desire and decide on your top three. What are your lifestyle needs? Are you a runner? Biker? Shopper? Does this location offer those things to you?
- Renovation Budget – Figure out what you need to spend to make it “your home” and negotiate that off the price. We knew from the start the well/septic was old, as were the windows, furnace, appliances, etc.
- Realtor – Find a good Realtor, if you are going to use one. Ask around for referrals and interview them! This is one of the most important financial decisions in your lifetime. You want someone that is going to make you feel at ease and take good care of you. Major amounts of money is being spent and made here, and you should be completely comfortable with the entire process. A good Realtor can make this a great experience as a bad one can make it a nightmare.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy the journey! Remember, in the end, it is not the structure that makes the home, it is the people and love that fills it!