Post # 1
How many houses did you/have you looked at?
We are starting the process of buying a house and my MIL is putting a lot of pressure on me to look at a ton of homes. Like 2 or 3 every weekend. She literally asks me every other day if we are going to look at any homes the coming weekend. And then I just sent her the address of a house I liked and she says “go look at it – and 2 or 3 more”. And I know it’s important to look in person but some of the houses she tells me to look at I absolutely hate. Should I be looking at houses I know I wouldn’t want to buy, just from the pictures?
Also, one of our things is a modern kitchen. The realtor suggested maybe buying a cheaper house with an older kitchen and updating it yourself. I don’t know if that sounds worth it to me. Thoughts?
And how do you feel about radiator heating? Here in New England, a lot of older houses have them and I kind of hate them. They’re ugly and bulky and get in the way. The only good thing about them is putting things on them to dry. I vastly prefer baseboard heating. Would it be insane to disregard a house because of radiators?
Post # 3
107. Honestly. But I would have not looked at as many if we had found The One sooner. My philosophy was to look at anything in our price range, regardless of pictures online. The feel of a house once you’re in it can be totally different than in pictures. It also gives you a good idea of what you can do to change it to make it your own, like the modern kitchen.
Good luck house hunting, it can be a long process but it’s SO worth it in the end. (Good luck managing your MIL being involved too- sounds like she’s inserting herself into a decision that doesn’t really concern her…)
Post # 4
I moved from St Louis to Houston in 1999. I found a realtor, and during our first conversation I faxed (back in the day!!!!!) a list of my “home requirements”. It was extensive. He said “wow – you’re really limiting yourself”. And I said…. “not really. that’s what I know I want in my house”. he pulled the MLS listings and called me back. He said “you’re going to need to decrease your requirements. There are only 3 houses in the entire Houston area that match what you want”. I said….. “great. I’m flying in on Saturday. let’s start at noon”. I looked at those 3 houses and made an offer – that was accepted by 5pm that night. I LOVED that house. I wish I still lived there!!!!!!
Now, that was the 4th house I had bought in my life….. so I knew what I wanted and I knew a bit about how the home buying/selling process worked. I probably couldn’t have done that for my first home.
My advice, though, is to start out with a giant list. Then you can expand. but if you have a ton of requirements and you find a house that fits all of them….. why would you look at houses that DON’T match? Isn’t that like dating an guy that doesn’t have the base qualities you are looking for in a husband? Then you just end up falling in love with something that won’t make you happy in the long run.
Post # 5
I pass over houses online where I don’t like the photos because I found most of the time the photos are more flattering than the actual house. At least around here…
I toured a house that looked amazing from the photos but was terrible inside. I’ve also drove by 20 different houses to make sure I liked the location before setting up a tour and the houses just looked like they were falling apart. Not worth the money to update them.
So now we only set up tours for houses we love from the photos if they match up to the photos when we drive by to check out the street they are on.
This has saved us a lot of time.
We haven’t walked through many though because we seem to always find a house we love as sooon as it is under contract but before they list that on the website LOL. House shopping is stressful. =(
Our budget is about $100,000 maybe $110,000 max so that limits us sooooo much. We can find homes for the price but not exactly what were looking for or they need too much work so it’s easier for us to know what were not going to waste our time looking at. I guess that makes a difference too, if we had a huge budget I’m sure we’d look at everything because we’d have more money for updates or a nicer home in general.
Post # 6
We looked at over 100 I’m sure, easily. We would probably go to at least a half dozen open houses on the weekend, and probably view a couple during the week if they popped up too.
I would never dismiss a house just based on the pictures alone either. There were plenty of houses I was SO excited to see from the pictures, and hated it in person, and vice versa.
Post # 7
We actually only looked at about 10 houses in person. I’ve heard many different stories, so it just kind of depends on the market in your area and the available houses i nyour price range. Don’t burn yourself out, though. I could from pictures if I was going to like a certain house or not. Also you can step one foot into a house and not want to see anymore….I did that a few times. If you want amore modern kitchen…then go with that. I knew that I didn’t want to have to do any remodeling. My hubby didn’t seem to mind, but I knew that I wasn’t up for that. I wanted move in ready and that’s exactly what we got. The only thing that I have to worry about it decorating, so it’d def possible to get what you want. You just have to stay on it and stick with your decisions…don’t compromise your main wants. Remember..it has to be something that you love or you will kick yourself for having to pay a mortgage on it.
By the way, the house that we ended up purchasing was the first one that i fell in love with looking online. It wasunder contract while we were looking at others, but in the end the people’s financing fell through and we were able to get it!!
Post # 8
We looked at 5 houses total, but bought the first one we looked at (nice to have some to compare it to, though!). Housing is really competitive in our area so we knew if we found something we liked, we’d have to jump on it immediately. We were just fortunate that our realtors had a good sense of our must have/love to have/can’t have requirements.
I agree with @3xaCharm: in that it’s a lot like dating, in certain ways. You need to know what really matters to you. You don’t want to settle but you also need to be realistic.
We were NOT looking for a place that needed extensive work (like re-doing the kitchen). That is a major and costly project that we didn’t want to tackle. If a modern kitchen is important to you, don’t let that go when you look at places!
Post # 9
We looked at probably 60 houses. I too was hesitant to look at houses that I didn’t like in pictures. But finally we did, we looked at this house with bright blue counter tops and wall paper on the ceiling that my mom wanted us to see and we ended up loving it! It was listed really low which meant we could do a ton of work and make it our own. It was the layout we couldnt change but the layout was wonderful, everything else was cosmetic. Some really bad stuff came out in inspection and we had to walk away but I still loved that house and would have loved to do all the work to make it ours. So moral of the story, look at ones you don’t like, pictures can be deceiving.
Post # 10
We probably looked at about 40 houses. We started by going to open houses every Sunday and seeing about 3-5 each time. We did this for about two months. We saw the house we’re under contract for on our second weekend looking.
We didn’t completely limit ourselves. I wanted a two-story house (which aren’t that common around here) but we did see some ranches and split levels. I liked some more than I thought I would. You just never know.
By the end of August we contacted a realtor and she took us out once. But the one we saw back in June was still in the back of our mind. So we decided to go for it. We figured we’d seen enough houses to not feel like we were rushing things.
We went under contract about a month ago and close in exactly two weeks.
Post # 11
We looked at about 50 hourses. First house was in Feb. Looked at about 10. Lost my job, got a new job, changed locations, saw a bunch more until we settled in Aug. It’s really hard to not judge by photos, but you should give it a chance. A lot of house could be awful and ones you think are awful might surprise you. Angles and depth and all kinds of nonsense play a huge role in how we percieve them. Some realtors might just not have any camera skills.
Kitchen wise I think it depends on the condition of the kitchen and what you want to do to it. They sell refacing tools for counterops and cabinets that you can do yourself and save a ton.
Here in Philly a lot of homes have radiator heating. I hate it merely because I wanted central air. I said I would consider radiator heating only because the house had to totally blow me away. And if it did have radators, I’d switch them to baseboards. I disregarded a lot of houses because they didnt have forced air and saw those that had them but an added bonus (extra bed, powder room etc).
Post # 12
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I’d say we looked at 60-75 houses, but it felt more like 100+. It took us 18 months to find and close on a house, and we had 3 contracts that ultimately failed during that time before closing on #4. I kept trying to be open to the possibility of liking a split level or a rancher because that was what was available in our price range for our “must have” location. That, and Mr. LK loves ranchers. So I kept looking at them to make him happy and give myself a chance to change my mind. But the truth is that I don’t like split levels and ranchers. I’ve never liked them and I never will. So yeah, we probably wasted a lot of time, energy, and gasoline looking at houses we were never going to buy because they were in budget. I just checked redfin and there is 1 house on the market right now that fits my criteria (location, acerage, home style, etc.). If I added ranchers and split levels into the equation, there are 14 that meet the criteria. So yeah, lots of what I didn’t want, and barely anything I did want.
As for the kitchen thing, are homes with newly renovated kitchens available in your price range? If that’s not too much of a financial stretch and it really matters to you because you refuse to live through a kitchen reno (perfectly understandable, IMHO), then go ahead and keep it on your “must have” list. but ask yourself this…. if a house was perfect in every other way, would you really pass on buying it just because of its older kitchen?
Same thing for radiators. If it was perfect in every other way, would you pass on it just because of radiators? We originally did not want a house with an electric heat pump because they never make us feel really warm. Well, guess what type of heat system our house has? We decided we could always bury a propane tank onsite to have gas heat or go geothermal if it became a real issue, but for now we will make do. We had an energy efficient woodburning fireplace insert installed and that sucker is going to help us stay toasty warm all winter long, in spite of our heat pump. 🙂
Post # 13
We probably looked at about 50 houses. We bought one right outside Philadelphia and our house does have radiator heating. A lot of the houses on the main line are old and have it. I don’t care for the look very much but we did get some cute radiator covers and we are planning on installing central air in the Spring. Don’t disregard a house you love because of the radiators. Sometimes the space they take up annoys me, but it is WAY cheaper than forced heat and you can still have central air. We have toyed with the idea of changing the heat at some point, but it’s not a big deal at this time. Our next door neighbor did it and he said the cost and hassle really wasn’t worth it so we will see!
The kitchen was also very outdated and that is something that was very important to both of us. I argued with my FI for a modern kitchen in the beginning of house searching but I then realized that if we re-did the kitchen, I could have EXACTLY what I wanted! We are in the beginning of the kitchen remodel now. We literally gutted the entire kitchen, keeping nothing, and are in the process of taking down walls to create a more open space. Our kitchen may be a mess and it is very frustrating to have to cook everything on the grill but I keep reminding myself that in the end, I will have the exact kitchen that I wanted! It was also really fun to design and I discovered so many options that I didn’t know existed! For example, we have a lab and we created an insert in the island for his food bowls so they don’t take up other kitchen space. We also got a double oven, which is something that my parents have and it is the greatest for someone like me who likes to bake while cooking dinner. Pinterest is awesome 🙂
Post # 14
I would not tell anything to my MIL, this is your house not hers.
I would hate to do renovations or be without kitchen for weeks. It takes a long time if something goes wrong or something was not ordered, etc. In the old house, it took 3 months for the kitchen to be finished. It was partially usable but the dining room was a mess. I will never again buy anything that needs renovations. If it is not move in ready, I would not even look at the house.
We saw may be 30 houses total. At first we were looking at everything at the suggestion of the real estate agent.. “because you never know what you will find”… That was non-stop houses for 2 months, every week-end and odd week night. It was awful! We dropped him and started only checking out houses that we were interested in from the descriptions and the pictures. That was a lot less stressful. There was a house we knew we wanted just from the listing. When we saw the actual house, it was sold… to us 🙂
Post # 15
Haven’t bought yet, but we did a kitchen renovation (in DH’s condo), which was painful to live through. Could I do it again, yes, but I’d prefer not to.
That said, in Boston a lot of kitchens are older. And have radiator heat. So you’ll have to carefully prioritize your wish list to make the most of your budget. I would refuse to visit a place I didn’t like on paper – why waste my time? Pictures are generally either accurate or more flattering. Unless I found nothing in my price range, and then I would look at these places.
Post # 16
We kept a very open mind and looked at around 100. I am really glad we did though. I never would have looked at this house and it is the one we fell in love with! While I was open to possibilities in houses, I was also very picky at the same time. We looked at housed that were cheap but needed lots of work, houses that were move in ready, way big or way small, in 6 different cities. In the end we found our happy medium with a breathtaking price. Be patient, look at as many as you can. You wont believe what you will find in houses you wouldn’t think you would like.