Choosing a House to Buy
I heard somewhere that people generally take longer choosing a pair of shoes than they do choosing a house to buy. I was determined not to be one of these people and so whilst hunting for a house to buy a set out a number of things that I should check out before putting an offer in.
First impressions of a house
Generally I found that when I walked into a house I either loved it, or hated it! Either this WAS the house that I wanted to buy, or I just wanted to walk straight out of there and forget about it. However I quickly realised that first impressions can be very misleading. There my first rule is:
Never choose to buy a house based on one viewing.
If you are interested in buying the house then arrange for a second viewing, and on the second occasion come prepared. Have a think about what you would like to do with each room, how each one would suit you, and then make a list of all the things that you should check, such as:
Lots of little things like helped me to gauge whether this house would be a nightmare to turn into what I envisaged it to be, and how much it would cost me to maintain the house.
Buying a House with Care
I found that several of the houses that I fell in love with on the first viewing just didn't come up to scratch. Somehow I was blinded by certain aspects and so I failed to notice any of the details. One house seemed perfect, it had good sized rooms, looked lovely and was at a decent price. However closer inspection revealed peeling wallpaper, wet rot, wobbly kitchen units, cracks down the walls and a plumbing system that hadn't been looked at since the 60's. If I hadn't come back for a second viewing I would probably have started down the road of buying that house, only to pull out once a survey was done (costing me up to 1000 pounds)
Weigh up the Pro's and Con's of Each House Purchase
Eventually I found two houses that I wanted to buy. They were quite different style houses, one was 20 years old the other 120, in different locations and with different layouts. After changing my mind several times over which house to buy I decided to make a list of all the factors that were influencing my decision.
In the end it boiled down to 3 main points, location, cost and quality of the house. So I simply tried to rate each house out of 10 based on those 3 criteria. Location was pretty easy, if it was close to town it scored highly. Cost was a bit trickier as it took into account not only the purchase price, but also my estimates for maintenance, and improvements to turn it into the house that I wanted it to be. The 3rd point was very difficult and in the end I ended up with a huge list of pro's and con's for each potential house purchase. The older house had more 'character' about it with lovely features in each room, the newer house had less style, but would certainly be more practical.
Deciding which House to buy
In the end both houses came out scoring about the same overall. Arggh! So I resorted to the final deciding factor. Yes, that is right, I flipped a coin! However I flipped the coin based on the fact that if I wasn't happy with the result, I would pick the other house. Sounds strange but I find it works to help you work out what you really want.
In the end the coin told me to choose the 20 year old house, and I was happy with that, so I stuck with Lady luck's choice. I don't know how I would have felt if she had told me to buy the other house:
Buying a House summary
So in the end, after making lots of lists, making sure I checked over each house meticulously, I ended up flipping a coin to decide. Just goes to show that those people who spend longer choosing shoes than they do a house probably live in nice places AND have comfortable feet.
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"Flipped a coin--thanks for the idea! I've been hemming and hawing between two houses for the past week. After reading your article I decided to save myself the time of making a detailed list because I think they'd come out 6 of one half dozen of the other and I'd end up like you did--back at square one, so I flipped a coin--3 times--and came up with the same result each time. What a hoot! And the house dropped their price $10K this week."