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All those annoying things you don’t think about

Today at 4:30 Girl Ninja and I will be going on our second walk-through of that really freaking cute house that I blogged about on Friday. I’m planning on taking some video and will give y’all a full tour later this week since many of you seemed to be interested in the property. Our plan is to spend at least 30 minutes in the house, trying to figure out what our life would be like if we called it home. There’s only one problem with this plan…

We don’t know what the heck we should be looking for!!!!

Haha, how’s that for a problem? Seriously though, as a renter for the last 9 years, I haven’t really given much thought to where we live, because I knew a year later I’d probably be living somewhere else. Things like dishwashers, garages, and laundry are often luxuries for renters, but for someone looking to purchase a property many of these things are non-negotiable.

I know I want to make a list of things to look for, or take note of, when we are walking through. I just can’t possibly wrap my mind around all of those things. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

    • Where would Baby Ninja 1 Sleep? Where would Baby Ninja 1 sleep once Baby Ninja 2 is born? What about when they are 5 years old? Will the rooms be sufficient for a toddler and/or an elementary student?
    • How big are the closets? Since the house was built in 1916 I know the closet is pretty tiny, just don’t know if it’s like “Holy crap this can never work” tiny.
    • Are the windows double pane and are there screens?
    • The house has forced air, but does that run upstairs or is it only on the main level? (upstairs was converted attic)
    • Any evidence of water in walls, ceilings, or basement?
    • Does the huge backyard appear to puddle water in any concerning way?
    • Can you hear road noise inside?
    • Is a garage important to me, and where is best spot to build one if the answer is yes?
    • Where are the outlets?
    • Is there adequate kitchen storage?
    • Where would we put the vacuum?
    • Any noticeable cracking in drywall or foundation?

And that’s all I got. I’m hoping those of you that are homeowners will be like “Don’t forget to check and see if there are outlets in the bathroom” or some other random thing that one doesn’t really think about when they are house hunting, but turns out to be majorly annoying when you actually move in. What annoyed you about your house after you moved in that you missed on your initial walk-through? Or what is something you didn’t think would bother you (like no backyard space), but now you realize it was more important to you than you thought?

p.s. I know an inspection would take care of most of the major concerns, but before I pay $500 for an inspection, I want to know if this is an alright house to put an offer in on.

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  1. If there’s an “island” bench in the kitchen, it’s extremely handy to have power points ON them, that way you can use a blender or whatever on the kitchen island instead of having to be restricted to using it on the walled bench space.

    Also if you’re a pets person make sure there’s a good laundry door that you can install a dog flap on for Ninja Dog

  2. Not just are there outlets, but do the outlets there work? After moving into our home 15 years ago, half the outlets didn’t work!

  3. And for girl ninja, are the outlets low or high where she plans on doing her hair? Mine currently are really low, and I have to get a chair because my hair dryer etc, cord is not long enough.

    Is there a microwave? If not and you add one, will it eat up all the counter space?

    Bathroom storage for hair products/TP/towels? If not is there room to add them?

    Finally, shoe and coat storage. Is it enough ?

    These are the things that make me lose my mind day after day.

  4. Drive past the house at different times of the day. Saturday night at 11:00. Is there a party house full of students on the street? Monday morning at 7:30. Is the street full of cars using it as a short cut to avoid some nearby artery? Monday morning 9:00. Is the street clogged with cars parked there to avoid parking fees at a local medical clinic or municipal building?

  5. Congrats on beginning the house hunting process. I would check to make sure there was actual heat in all rooms, not just the converted attic. Our house for some odd reason, has no heat in the bathroom. The previous owners cut out the duct work that leads to the bathroom and also redid the sheetrock where the vent used to be. Nothing we ever noticed or even thought to look for. So, yea it gets cold in our only bathroom in winter and stuffy in summer if the window is not open.

    Oh, and if there is heat/ac in the upstairs, make sure it actually works well up there. For the upstairs of our cape cod we were told it had heat/ac. Well yea, a tiny trickle that you could hardly feel went up there. It basically made no difference to the temp up there. So we ended up getting seperate heat/ac units installed just for the second floor, since we use those two bedrooms.

    Also, I would take a walk or three around the neighborhood. Try and meet or atleast scope out some of the potential neighbors. We have nasty mean neighbors on our one side. Obviously neighbors can change through time, but it’s certainly something to think about. Also listent to make sure there isn’t a dog that is outside barking all day and night. Luckily hasn’t happened to us, yet.

    Finding the perfect place really isn’t possible and every house is going to have a few trade-offs, just think about what’s important to you.

  6. Storage, is there enough?

    I have an enormous amount of holiday decorations and camping equipment. Neither are something I need access to year round but I still need a lot of space for them.

    Outlets in the bathroom as they relate to hair dryers, flat irons, ect.

    Hows the laundry situation set?

      • Thank you. And while we’re here, make sure the doorways are wide enough to get your largest furniture (such as said piano) in the house. It’s not unknown for people to have to take the doors off the jambs in order to get big pieces of furniture like sofas and piano inside. And of course measure the square footage of each room to ensure all your furniture will fit. Just eyeballing the dimensions is extremely deceptive.

  7. Are there water spigots on the outside of the house? Our has one on each side, but it’s hellish to drag the hose around to the front and back. Good hoses can be expensive and adding feet just to get around the corner of the house is annoying. Also check for outlets outside if the house for decorations, weedeater, etc.

    • Ooh, this is a good one. I have a water spigot in the backyard and one in my garage. Nothing on the side of my house, which drives me crazy! I’m not sure why I need one in the garage???

  8. What is the wiring like leading into the breaker box? Is there room in there for more or is the box full?

    How old is the water heater? the furnace (very important in northern canada 🙂

    What is parking like in front of the house for guests?

    What shape is the fence in?

  9. Location of taps and plugs outside. When condo hunting, we checked where they were to make sure we could hose off our bikes and our vehicle. For plugs, think Christmas lights, rotisserie for the bbq, or table saw. Storage for a lawn mower, etc? If there’s a fireplace does it work and is it insurable. Is there a good flow, as is plot out the walk and normal paths you’d take in your day to day lives. Do you park and cut through the yard to the side door? Would you primarily use the side door but all of the coats are at the front door?
    You’re definitely asking the right questions wondering where baby 1 and baby 2 go.

  10. Turn on all the water sources at once – sinks and showers, dishwasher and washing machine to see if one “hogs” the water source. Flush the toilet while the shower is running to see if it robs the hot water from the shower. If the house is over 50 years it will have needed to be replumbed by now or will need it soon. Where is the main water shut off valve and does it work – try to turn off water by hand. Does each water appliance have its own shut off – check the toilets, water heater, sinks.

    • Good one. I forgot to check water pressure and temperature at one place and it was nightmare to get properly fixed.

  11. In our walk-through of our current rental, I missed the fact that it doesn’t have a pantry. It was INCONCEIVABLE to me that a house wouldn’t have a pantry, but now we live in one. It’s craziness. That point alone probably would have changed my mind about renting it, had I made the observation earlier.

  12. What is the water pressure like in the showers? I think this is fixable, but certainly one less thing you want to worry about.

    This is also weird, but I would look at window placement in the walls. I like have natural light help me wake up in the morning, but I don’t want it shining directly in my eyes. In my current apartment, I don’t get any natural light in the bedroom, and it makes waking up for me, as a not-morning person, even more difficult. Window placement is something really expensive to change as well.

    I would also go by the neighborhood a number of different times to check out your neighbors and the neighborhood. Are they also young families? Older couples? College kids? Even having your own place, noisy neighbors can ruin a good night’s sleep, and messy neighbors can bring resale value down.

  13. Take lots of pictures (or video) – there will be questions that occur to you later.

    After that, you’re looking to see what would be issues for you (and then which are fixable vs. too big/expensive to fix). Things like:
    – Where are the outlets in every room?
    – Lights – Which rooms have ceiling lights vs. rooms lit only by lamps? Where are the light switches?
    – Heating/cooling – where are the vents?
    – Is there a fan in every bathroom?
    – Are the appliances included? If not, how big are the spaces? (You don’t want to buy a fridge that doesn’t fit.)
    – Are there any appliances (e.g. dishwasher) that aren’t included but you’ll want? Where will you put them?
    – Is there counter space for any appliances (coffee maker, toaster, microwave) you’ll want to keep out?
    – What else is on the property (fireplace, pond, perennials etc.) and how much maintenance is required?
    – Are there any rails in the house (e.g. around the stairs) and, if so, how far apart are the posts? Could a child/cat/dog fit between them?
    – Where’s the laundry and how do you access it?

  14. Does it have a basement? If so, does it have a sump pump/drainage?

    Does it have a utility sink? Other than more storage, a utility sink is something that is incredibly useful and I wish I had.

  15. My advice: don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes the changes you need to make are what customizes the house as only you can; they make it truly yours. You can add outlets or storage, although your “where can I locate a garage” concern is REAL, presuming a garage is important to you. Don’t forget to consider setback or coverage (if applicable) regulations; use permit processes for a variance are a pain and can alienate you with neighbors. My primary concerns when buying were: 1. does the snow shed from the roof away from the driveway and back deck; 2. is the living room of my small house adequate for socializing (many small houses have small living rooms!); and 3. can I fix the isolated kitchen situation to enable heat flow through the house and the ability to talk to people in the living room as I cook. Don’t lose a house you love for a few thousand dollars in outlets or a hose bib relocation a kitchen wall. Just make the plan to implement the priority changes over time, since the years pass before you know it. It was 26 years before I finally did the last project (moving the wood stove to the corner instead of the middle of the wall) and it feels really good!!! The house is now paid for, by the way, which leaves lots of money for the bigger ticket changes that will come, when you knew it when you bought the house or not…

    • This! Almost everything everyone has listed are little things that are easy for homeowners to fix themselves or contract out for a little cash. And you would be surprised with what you can make do with. Our 1870 home had 2 closets when we moved in, we have added 2 more but they are all tiny. Thats ok, we have downsized our stuff. Our central air died, we put in window AC units in the bedrooms and skipped the $3500 or more it would have cost to fix the central air.

      Kids can share rooms, too. Our 8 and 4 year olds, one boy one girl, share, and their 7 yr old brother has his own. It works best for them that way.

      I would take along a friend with kids and have them talk to you about how the place would look if they lived there with a couple kids. It can be very hard for anyone without kids to know just how your home can change after you have a few kiddos! Where will they play, that dining room set you have, it goes away to make room for a pack n play so mom doesn’t have to run upstairs to change diapers or put baby down for nap. That office is a playroom now. Can you easily watch the backyard from the kitchen or living room so mom can get stuff done inside while the kids play outside? If you don’t have a garage or driveway (we don’t) can you add a shed for bike and sled storage, or lawn mower and tools? How are the local schools, both private and public. We planned on sending our kids to parochial schools and never even thought to check out the public system and then had 2 boys with autism who needed extra help. Thankfully we landed in one of the best school districts in our state for special needs kids.

      • REALLY good idea to get a perspective from a friend who has kids! But I guess if he’ll share video we can all chime in. Heh!

  16. – water softener / air conditioning / furnace / water heater – how old are they, how efficient, – turn on the furnace a degree higher to make it start and see how strong is the air flow in each vent.
    – are appliances included? – if yes how old are they, are they energy efficient,…
    – is the house well insulated? – walk around each window and door with your hand and see if there is cold air coming in
    – if the owners are there ask how much their hydro and utilities bills are in the winter months …
    – how is the roof? when was last changed? when does it need to be changed
    – what were the last maintanace changes the owners did

  17. Are there GFCIs in the bathroom(s) and kitchen. I know they are easy to switch out, but if you don’t like rewiring things or don’t want to, it would be nice if they are there.

    What type of electrical wiring is in the house (it might be knob and tube). Since the house looks updated they might have gone ahead and redone all the wiring. Is there a breaker box or is it a fuse box. This may or may not be a big deal to you, but as someone with a fuse box, it is a lot easier to find a tripped breaker in the dark than a blown out fuse!

  18. How will you come in and out of the house every day? The entrance (front or back, whichever you will use most) is critical – we saw and loved one house, but we’d be walking straight into the kitchen and depending on the season, snow, mud, dried leaves, etc. would get all over our floors and it would be impossible to keep clean. The house we wound up buying has a mud room off the back with an enormous closet and a front foyer for guests with hooks on the walls. It is perfect!

    Also, how old is the furnace and water heater (not a deal breaker, but you’ll want to know how soon you’ll need to replace it), how much storage is there, how much are the average utility bills (for budgeting purposes)?

  19. Cost of Extra Insurance Due to Location: Perhaps you are already aware but what extra insurance will you require due to your location? Given the picture of the proximity of the water, a tsunami / flooding is scaring the heck out of me. Do you have someplace to go in times of bad weather? Don’t laugh but the first house we bought, we were completely clueless with our first kid on the way so trying to beat the baby due clock. It wasn’t until the first tornado warning did I realize, oh crap, we have no basement.

    Storage: This is a big thing for me. Without an attic or a garage, where are all of the seasonal items?

    # of bathrooms: It is a deal breaker for me. With our kids being a boy and girl and the girl getting close to the teen years, I am wishing our house did not make them share a bathroom. She needs her privacy now and taking a shower while getting hit with a fallen spiderman toy doesn’t make her morning easier.

    Neighbors Parking: Drive by at night to see how neighbors park. Just trust me on that one.

    Hospitals / Fire Houses: How close are you to emergency facilities. This could be a good thing. But it also means that you need to deal with all of the sirens and noise that comes with it. Our favorite is college friend who bought a high rise condo on cheap and bragged about it. But very quickly learned why it was cheap – the nearby hospital helicopter pad flooded his condo with lights and sounds beyond belief. Quite funny as he was slightly intoxicated at the same time too.

  20. is there a dishwasher? – haha – we noticed that our first house didn’t have one the day we moved in – and even worse there wasn’t a logical place to put one – which is why there wasn’t one in a 60 year old house yet. We ended up gutting the kitchen a year later . . .
    And you know what? both of our kids have their own rooms and they want to sleep together every night. And we have a boy and a girl – I’m sure that won’t last too much longer but you’d be surprised at what kids really need and want.

  21. DH and I have just started our house-dreaming process (likely 2 years from buying). The house you’re looking at is extremely cute and would tick a lot of our boxes off. Aside from the basics (windows, roof, foundation…) here is my criteria that comes in large part from being a parent to a 3.5 year old boy: 2 baths or the potential of easily adding a second bathroom (several times our whole family has been down with the flu at the same time); window over the kitchen sink or some vantage point from the sink that’s not a wall (I spend a lot of time at the kitchen sink); eat-in kitchen (so cooking, eating, cleaning, coloring, play-doh-ing, and getting 4th refill of milk can all happen in the same room at the same time); access from kitchen to deck/patio and fenced yard (to let the little one out while meals get ready); laundry in the kitchen (have had this in my last two rentals and love it, again all about multi-tasking); good mud-room type space to capture jackets, boots, strollers, etc; 2 story (so that we can watch a movie in peace after 8pm bedtime for little one; or so one parent can sleep-in when the fun starts for the other at 6am on a Saturday); more than one hang-out room (so that a television doesn’t dominate the only common living area). When we get serious we’ll be thinking about the teenage years as well. We’re tall and our son shows signs of being NBA tall by 15, so room size or the potential to expand the space down the road will be important to us. Good luck!

  22. It looks like the current owners did a few renovations in preparation for the sale. I would ask specifically about what was renovated and about the materials they used and any problems they came across during the renovation. A lot of this stuff is covered up and may not come up during an inspection.

    – Did they homeowners do the remodeling themselves or did they hire people?
    – Were there any wires or pipes in weird places?
    – What updates have there been to the plumbing? What is still galvanized pipe and what is PVC? This question is especially important if you ever plan on adding that second bathroom that you’re probably thinking about.
    – Is the electrical updated? Does the box have fuses or breakers? (Breakers are newer and more efficient and they mean the electrical is new-ish)

    Other questions:
    – With the big backyard to maintain and no garage, will you have to put up a shed to keep all of your manly mowers and tools?
    – Does it snow a lot there? Where are you going to keep the shovel and the snowblower you might get because you have to do it yourself because someone has to watch the kids while the other clears the parking area?
    – How old is the roof? When was the last time it needed repairs?
    – Turn on the vent in the bathroom and hold a tissue up to it, does it actually suck air? Or does it just spin and make noise?
    – That space in front of the fence on the street, would that be yours? Is it asphalt or concrete or unfinished? Would you put in paving? What would that involve and how much would that cost?
    – How old is the deck in the back? What is under it? Does that space have room to breathe or is the wood rotting at the base?

    For more info on all the weird things that can be missed during an inspection or renovation, watch a few episodes of Homes Inspection. The examples are often extreme, but he gives great tips on what an inspection should entail and how long the inspector should be in the house.

    Good luck!

  23. Planes. Do you hear lots of planes overhead? If you stay around for half hour, you should know whether your’e right under a popular flight path and will never be able to watch a TV show again without turning up and down the volume a lot.

    Grass. How much is there? A lot to mow? Do you have a lawnmower? Your kids will want grass to play in, is there enough?

    Attic. Is it the same temp as the outside? It shoudl be or the insulation isn’t done properly.

    Driveway. Is it easy to get in and out of? Is there enough room for both ninja cars? Will there be a lot to shovel in the winter? Is that okay?

    Landscaping. Does it suck or is it cool? Is it al ot to maintain or will you hav eto buy some stuff because its’ sparse?

    Outlets. Is the cable outlet in a good spot for your TV? Does each room have outlets to plug stuff in? Are the outlets in reaonsable spots or will you have to move them around?

    Pretend to cook something in the kitchen. Is the setup workable or is it insanely counterintuitive and will require a remodel?

    That’s all I got, dude.

  24. Drive to the location on Sunday afternoon- is the atmosphere like you want it? Drive out there on Friday night at 11pm- is the atmosphere like you want it? Drive out there during a big rain storm- is the water being directed as it should?
    You can change paint and walls and ceiling and carpet, but it’s much harder to change location, wall placement, bathroom location, and floor plan. When was the roof last replaced? When was the heating/air unit replaced?
    I agree about the comments regarding outlets. Imagine arranging and re-arranging your furniture- are the outlets in the right places to allow that?
    Make a sketch of the floor plan so you can refer to it later. Don’t worry too much about where the Mini-Ninjas will fit- stores still sell bunk beds. Heck, I’ve even seen bunk cribs!

  25. Probably said before, but check the surrounding neighborhood for proximity to the stores and other services you may need: grocery stores, dry cleaner, pizzeria/Chinese/burrito joints, auto repair, library, drugstore, deli, liquor store, doctor’s and dentist’s offices, post office, movie theater, etc., etc. You don’t need all of these on the next corner, of course, but you don’t want to drive ridiculous distances to some of them either.

  26. The only thing I wished I had done was immediately install double pane windows while I had all that money saved. Now I’m saving for it along with building a mattress stand with drawers so I can free up closet space.

  27. Here’s what annoyed me most about the purchase of my home. The roof was installed two years prior to the sale. It had a 10 year warranty. I found issues with the roof (exposed nail heads ALL OVER). I attempted to arrange to have warranty work done at the time of the sale. The warranty was in the previous (deceased) owner’s name and I would have to pay $150 dollars to switch the warranty to my name before they would even come out to look at the problem with the roof. Then the actual application of the warranty would depend on things such as the “conditions in which the roof was installed”, of which I had no knowledge. Needless to say, I did not do business with this company and I will not be doing business with that company in the future.
    Other than that, the other quirks in the house (no outlets in the bathroom) have been fun.

  28. The yard is a bonus. If you’ve never really had one (like us), you don’t really “miss” it. I would never go from a house with a yard to one without, but we went from apartment to house with no yard because my butt had no intentions of mowing anything (HOA does all landscaping care).

    The only major concerns are location things. Where is the TV in relation to the bedrooms? Will it complicate life when Girl Ninja or Baby Ninjas are sleeping? Is a crying kid in one room going to wake up a sleeping kid in the other…. That kinda stuff.

    After buying, we learned how much we hate stairs. Lord willing, a smaller single story house is in our future. I’m willing to eat 200-300 square feet if it means no stairs. Why I hate them? I’m not sure. I’m just not a fan at all!!!!

    Also, you want a garage. If you have to build a detached one, do it. I’ll even come up and help. But it’s a man-space essential. Projects, exercise, whatever. I place high value on the garage space.

  29. Honestly I didn’t see your post about the house and I’m currently too lazy to go back and read it now (how’s that for honestly), but we have bought two homes – one about the same age the one you are looking at and one a new build. Here’s what I learned:

    Make sure that there are enough outlets in each room. In older homes, you might have only one or two outlets in a room. In today’s lifestyle, that doesn’t work.

    Make sure your cabinets and drawers in the kitchen are usable. What I mean – make sure they are good sizes for your stuff. Are the cabinets huge and spacious but half of the storage space too high for Girl Ninja (or even you) to reach? That was a problem in our old house. Our current house? None of the drawers in the kitchen are large enough for a utensil caddy. We had to have custom insets put in because of this. Who would have thought of that?!

    You already mentioned the closets, which are usually a concern for older homes. Also the wiring, but plenty of people have already mentioned that. Check things like the height of the shower sprayer. Sounds stupid, but my mom’s house is old and her shower sprays me right in the face – and I’m only 5’7″. I can’t imagine how my bro-in-law, who is 6’3″ showers in there by bending over when he visits.

    That’s all I can think of at the moment.

    And yes…all of these can be remedied, but how much time/money are you willing to spend on it?

    Best of luck!

  30. This probably won’t be an issue because of the location, but make sure your cell phones work! I never thought to check during multiple walkthroughs of my current house, then realized during the remodel that there is ZERO AT&T service. Verizon phones seem to do okay, which makes no sense because Verizon isn’t even offered where I live.

    People have brought up excellent ideas already, so I’ll just say that if there is anything that makes you guys think, “Hmmm, I wonder why they did that,” it’s probably a red flag worth investigating. Also, make sure to find out what size the ducts are – I have forced air heat and tiny 8-inch ducts, so at some point they’re going to need to be upgraded to help the air move through the house more efficiently.

  31. I love where we live now EXCEPT for my downstairs neighbor. She loves to have loud phone conversations (seriously it’s like she is in the room with me), even louder sex, and hogs the dryers in the laundry room (a single girl with 15 loads of laundry, we’re a family of 4 and don’t have that much). Aside from her we are very comfortable here. So my Point is neighbors….they can make or break an area. I read you should visit the area during the weekend/nights. I had a friend look at his place during the day during the week. He loved it & Bought it. Shortly after he found that when he got home at 6pm there is no street parking. His place didn’t have a driveway/garage so he needs street parking but all of his neighbors (even those with garages and driveways) would park on the street. He gets tickets for parking near a fire hydrant since it’s the only open spot. Another friend found her neighborhood great during the time she visited during the week. Her first Saturday she was kept up all night by her next door party hard until 4am neighbors…..they still party loud every.saturday.night. She has called police, they come & make the noise come down but the neighbors know it’s her complaining and things are very tense there now.

  32. Most home purchases are emotional decisions! It takes several visits to overcome those emotions. One of the things, I look for is deferred maintenance and everything works. I would have a home inspection or require a home warranty.

  33. Great comments from the folks above but don’t sweat over the small stuff that can be renovated, relocated or built in.

    The most important things you need to look at are:

    Proximity to shops, schools, public transport (bus/rail if any), is it a flood zone, check out the place during peak/off peak/weekend/party hours to see what the neighbourhood/neighbours are like, good natural lighting(nothing more depressing than a dark house requiring lights to be turned on during midday), house foundation and floor size (if it’s large enough, it can be renovated for that extra bathroom/closet/storage or whatever you require), concrete cancer, termites, rotting wood, poor ventilation/mouldy celings and walls, cracked walls and misaligned windows indicating shifting foundations, illegal/unapproved additions (we need council approval in Oz for external additions), if you wish to buy a new property in the future and want to turn it into an investment property-is it in a popular area that can be easily leased?, is it in an area that has capital growth? this is important incase you wish to sell and upgrade…last thing you want is your house price remaining stagnant with low capital appreciation while the area you wish to upgrade to has spectacular price increases which makes affordability in the long term very difficult.

    Good luck and it’s very exciting to buy a place =)

  34. Forgot to add that you need to analyse yourself and your wife and what your hobbies are too.

    If either of you enjoy cooking or baking – the kitchen must have a sufficient pantry/room for pantry to be built, shelving for ingredients and benchspace for cooking (nothing more annoying than baking in a tiny kitchen and shuffling the pots, pans and applicances around constantly)

    If you like hobbies requiring a shed- must have a shed or have a yard big enough for a shed to be built

    If she likes arts/craft- must have a room with good natural lighting where you can place craft/art equipments

    If you have to work at home- must have a room that you can create a home office in

  35. 1. Are the drawers deep enough in the kitchen/bathroom.
    2. Is there a light switch when you walk in from the garage to the house?
    3. Does the hot water handle turn the hot water on, or is it backwards?
    4. Do the cabinets open the direction you want them?
    5. If there is an island with drawers/cabinets, do they open to the side you want?
    6. Pretend to grab dishes, make dinner and put dishes away. Is the placement of appliances correct?
    7. If the bathroom has two sinks, can both of you stand in front of the sink at the same time?
    8. Can you hear a person peeing in the master bathroom when you are in the bedroom?
    9. Are there cables run to where you want to setup the tv?
    10. If you have a landline, does the line work?
    11. How loud is the ac unit and is it right next to the bedroom? (might not be as pertinent in Seattle as in TX)
    12. How loud is the shower/sink/toilet/etc in the master bath? (if you are wanting to sleep and the GN is getting ready for work, will it be super loud?)

    I can probably think of another bunch of things to look for, but that is what I got for now.

  36. When I was looking for my first (and current) house I had a list

    For me location noise – traffic, dogs, people, planes – was the big one – you can’t pick your house up and MOVE it elsewhere! Whenever I found a place I liked, my realtor said “your homework now, is to go visit at all hours/days” – I would *stalk* my chosen house. One place that I was actually in escrow on for a while, I went over at 11pm at night on a weeknight, and listened to the neighbourhood – the “small side street” that it was just off of, had cars going by every 45 seconds on average – not exactly soothing! And I know, that 9 months out of the year, I like to sleep with my window open – so even though it’s January, remember that it WILL be nice out, so open the windows and listen!

    Location traffic – how hard/easy is it to get in and out of the place – do you have a left turn on a busy street to get to work, that you have to sit through for a long time in the morning? Like others have said – is this street full of parked cars that you have to navigate around? For me, personally, parking was an issue – I was looking at townhouses, and every complex I saw had “parking issues” – so I wanted to make sure I had sufficient assigned parking spots.

    Within the house – double paned windows, 3 pronged electrical outlets with proper electrical grounding. Layout of the bedrooms – if you want to put your headboard of your bed in one spot, are there appropriate plugs for nightstands/phone etc? Is the forced air heat register *right* where you want to put your dresser? Closet space is good – what about a hall closet for linens? Bathroom storage (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, towels) and countertop space is nice.

    Rooms look SO MUCH BIGGER with no furniture in them 🙂 My laundry room looked HUGE until I installed a washer and dryer! Measure your existing rooms with your furniture – then bring the tape measure to other places – it will help you visualize if you can say “this bedroom is bigger/smaller than ours now”.

    For my house, the things that I don’t like but that I’m living with for now 🙂

    – none of my windows have windowsills! I didn’t realize till I moved in, how much I liked having the deep windowsills from my previous house. My current house has no windowsills, and I miss that.
    – natural light. My current house doesn’t get a lot of natural light in the living room – I didn’t think it would be a big deal, it’s certainly not *dark*, but it’s not SUPER bright – and I would prefer more natural light in my next house.
    – randomly skinny doors – the main bathroom upstairs and the half bath downstairs (i.e. the 2 I use) have skinny doors/frames. I noticed it when I first saw the house, but it wasn’t enough to *not* buy it, but it’s weird and kind of awkward
    – my kitchen has cupboards! it looks like a kitchen! but I HAVE NO STORAGE! it’s all corners on the bottom – no real cupboards for pots and pans! And I have no work space on my counters.
    – hot water tank in my laundry room, in my house – with no drain in the floor. This one bugs me a lot, and I didn’t think of it soon enough. My water tank is old, and my biggest worry right now is that it will catastrophically fail – and I will have water in my living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway – ruining furniture, electronics and hardwood floors. . I need to get on that…I want to get a quote on what it would take to move it to the garage….but ALL the plumbing is in that wall, in the center of the house.

  37. Let’s see it really depends on what you want in a home. Example for our home we wish for a larger kitchen area as the kids like to watch and be with us in the kitchen but there is only a 3×10 space to work so it gets crowded with just one person cooking. Also a future project is to update our electrical breaker box with a new one since our current one does not have a master breaker and it is really too small (no more room for any additional breakers). Also in our case we have septic but the tank is the minimum size for the house, if we want to remodel it will cost money to replace the septic tank and drain field.

    Also for here in Seattle house level is the roads around the home? In downtown during a ice storm you can find cars going everywhere but straight on the iced road. In addition if you lose power how are you going to heat the house?
    Just some thoughts.

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