Advice on house hunting

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  • Deleted user 7 September 2013 22:15:07
    LOOK AT ME, HOUSEHUNTING LIKE A GROWNUP.

    Anyway. We've got three houses that we're currently looking at, but they all have various pros and cons we can't quite decide on. Mostly because I haven't got a clue what I'm doing.

    Our current living arrangements: Me, the wife, four cats. No plans, either immediate or future, for starting a family. Along with a room out of the way for the litterboxes, I'd also like a place for an office.

    House 1 is the cheapest ($100k). It's also the smallest, it's more "lived in" and rustic feeling than other houses. It's got a nice downstairs/basement area, though, but it also needs a fair bit of work. It also has a reasonable sized garden with a colossal oak tree in the middle of it. It's pretty close to a main road. Total square foot - 1768.

    House 2 is the most expensive ($140k). It's insanely big. Upstairs has three large bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a modern kitchen with a sizeable dining area, a large living room and fireplace with a large reading area off to the side. Downstairs it has another living area + bedroom + full bathroom, a utility room and huge storage space. The garden isn't that big, but it has a nice sculpted water feature. Move in ready and very recently renovated. Total square feet - 2983

    House 3 is inbetween ($125k). It's a single-story, three bed (which are kind of small) two bathroom, a nice modern kitchen/dining area, a generous garage and plenty of parking. But it's also got an awesome garden. It's got a covered wood-deck patio area that's probably larger than our current living room. It has a large grass garden complete with landscaped pond, area specifically for growing fruits/vegetables and a decent shed. And it's far away from a main road, so you can sit outside and hear virtually nothing. Move-in ready, everything's been recently redone so there's no work (aside from gardening). Total square foot - 1305

    House 2 is easily the nicest of the lot in terms of layout and looks. My concern (aside from the price) is the sheer size of it - aside from the utility room we would probably never even go downstairs. I'm personally leaning towards house 3, as I want a nice garden, though the gardens in 1 and 2 aren't too shabby.

    Anyway. What other things should I be looking for (purely from a house layout/work needed consideration, rather than the nitty gritty financials)? Any pros and cons for any of the three that jump out to anyone from those scant descriptions I'm overlooking?
  • Dougs 7 Sep 2013 22:20:41 81,709 posts
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    Not sure how much of a difference it makes where you are, but it all comes down to (a cliche I know) location. You can change a house as much as you like but you can't change where it is. Not sure if that influences anything at all.

    I also have a couple of deal breakers - not on a main road, must have off street parking. Probably not as big an issue for you...!

    Will probably be looking to move within the next 6 months too, not looking forward to it. Pain in the fucking arse.
  • Deleted user 7 September 2013 22:24:08
    They're all (roughly) around the same area, and they all have good parking. That one off the main road can fit 6 cars + an RV on the driveway/garage. But yeah, the immediate neighbourhoods are something we should probably investigate more thoroughly. We had a brief drive-around but didn't really get out and explore much, so I guess we should do that at some point. Cheers.
  • Mr_Sleep 7 Sep 2013 22:31:09 20,975 posts
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    If you really get into gardening then the bigger the better, we have a reasonably large one (for London) but I can tell my girlfriend would like a larger one. What you intend to grow will also influence what you need in a garden.

    I would never go for a place that needs work as we have a minor amount and I just never get around to it so something with a lot of work would be horrendous.

    Also, you get what you pay for, the most expensive will probably be the best so if you can go for that one. Make sure you get all the surveys too. Doug's is right though location is very important.
  • Dougs 7 Sep 2013 22:32:30 81,709 posts
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    Even in my small town, being "the wrong side of the tracks" makes a huge difference in price and quality of life. It's all relative, but within 10 min walk, it's chav scum. Probably a bit of prejudice in there a bit, but there are definitely some comparatively iffy parts.

    Also, $140k. Good grief!
  • kadooosh 7 Sep 2013 22:34:05 2,909 posts
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    Out of curiosity, where abouts are you living or looking to buy? I'm in Portsmouth and from what you've described that's a lot for your money! House 2 sounds like it'd cost at least 170 down here!
  • Deleted user 7 September 2013 22:42:09
    I'm in Idaho in the US. House prices are insane here. My sister's selling her house in the UK at the moment, and if you currency exchange the prices it's selling for quarter of a million USD, with about 1,000 square ft of space.
  • Khanivor 7 Sep 2013 22:49:56 43,122 posts
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    House 3 sounds like a winner.

    How old are these places? Check when hvac was last serviced and how old it is. Ask about utility bills as good indicator of how sound the place is. Are they in the city or will your trash and other services be less organized? What are property taxes, state and local? For gardening, how does sun traverse the property?

    May as well check schools as it can't hurt to have that covered.

    If any have wood floors drop me a line ;)
  • Deleted user 7 September 2013 22:53:53
    Cats + main roads don't really work.

    Big question on 3 is are you prepared to spend the time you'll need maintaining it?

    maintaining the garden, I mean.

    Edited by Bremenacht at 23:27:38 07-09-2013
  • Deleted user 7 September 2013 22:56:41
    hey blizehs back!
  • skuzzbag 7 Sep 2013 23:25:00 5,950 posts
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    House three sounds the best from my point of view. we are buying our 5th house now (11th house in total) and the kinds of things that are important to us having experienced all kinds of shit are.

    Peace and quiet in the garden and in rooms when we want it.
    Away from main roads so that pets don't get killed by traffic.
    Not loads of lawns to cut, although you can landscape to reduce lawn sizes and grow plants / wild garden etc.
    Rooms should not be too large or too many as this = expensive to heat (very expensive to heat, it seems to be exponential in practice)
    .
    The total land outside will = your feelgood factor so that's worth bearing in mind.

    I'd go for 3 on this basis.

    Edited by skuzzbag at 23:25:51 07-09-2013
  • mrpon 8 Sep 2013 00:29:07 33,015 posts
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    Check the garden for potatoes.
  • Deleted user 8 September 2013 01:39:42
    Hmm, that's very true. I could in theory turn downstairs in House 2 into some kind of getaway so I don't have to slouch off to the office every time Sam wants a girly night with friends.

    I think we've ruled out House 1 entirely now though, mostly on the same line of thinking as scuzzbag - the garden's nice, but it's quite enclosed and all you can hear is traffic, plus it's an older house so heating/cooling inside would be a pain. And yeah, there's the whole "everything that needs doing is kind of a minor thing", so it'd probably be left until we moved out or something.

    Khani: All of 'em have wooden floors in at least a couple of rooms. Sam's checking up on all the other things, as I don't have much of a clue still.
  • sport 8 Sep 2013 09:31:15 13,824 posts
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    Look at meme with his trophy American wife and his fancy yankie-doodle house.

    The Vinnie Jones of EG!!!!
  • Deleted user 8 September 2013 09:38:02
    Which one has a roof?

    But seriously folks, have you considered what would happen once word gets around that you revealed the Oblivion 'twists' on an open forum. Which house is the furthest away from the wrath of angry neighbours out for a lynching?

    Edited by Madder-Max at 09:41:20 08-09-2013
  • altitude2k 8 Sep 2013 09:45:40 5,238 posts
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    Dem prices...damn. The wife and I are looking to get our first house next year and 280-300k seems like the sort of price.
  • FartPipe 8 Sep 2013 10:00:28 5,316 posts
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    I don't think you want to be on a main road or you'll have squished moggies.
  • FWB 8 Sep 2013 10:04:37 53,284 posts
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    altitude2k wrote:
    Dem prices...damn. The wife and I are looking to get our first house next year and 280-300k seems like the sort of price.
    Can just about get a flat for that in London.
  • Deleted user 8 September 2013 10:11:22
    For work, London is great. Everything else; meh. Don't quite understand why people make out its amazing really.

    Just a thought, if your moving into a new area, use crimemap to see what the area is like. Of course, it won't give you an amazing and perfect read out. But it's something: http://www.police.uk
  • BurnoutJunkie 8 Sep 2013 10:28:42 887 posts
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    I've been saving up for a little while and am hoping to buy next year. I'm in the position of buying now, but it'd be an absolutely tiny place and I want to avoid that for now. Another 6-9 months of saving will allow me to have a better deposit in place.

    Also, I have house price envy...$140k is the most expensive house you're looking at, and it sounds really nice. I'd barely get a tiny, 1 bedroom flat for that price where I'm living :-/
  • FartPipe 8 Sep 2013 10:37:10 5,316 posts
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    You can pick up 3 and 4 bedroom houses where I live for around 140k, but then I do live in the cheapest part of England for housing, my house for example is a 3 bedroom terraced on a fairly quite side street and I paid 108k for it.

    Where I live it gets a lot of stick but it really is not that bad, in fact there's some beautiful places to visit.

    I live in Hull.

    Edited by OptimusPube at 10:37:46 08-09-2013
  • altitude2k 8 Sep 2013 10:38:04 5,238 posts
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    Tell me about it. 300k for a 1400sqft househere at the moment.
  • nickthegun 8 Sep 2013 10:45:43 70,135 posts
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    Get the biggest house you can afford so you dont have to bother doing it again. Humans are like goldfish and will expand to fill any space they are put in.
  • Dougs 8 Sep 2013 10:47:22 81,709 posts
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    In case you don't know, there's a government mortgage guarantee scheme coming in in Jan. Details are scarce but I think the way it will work is that the Govt guarantee up to 20% of a loan, meaning effectively you have 20% more deposit. You borrow the full amount but because that proportion is guaranteed, the lenders will treat it as a the deposit. Meaning you can borrow at a lower interest rate, keeping repayments down (and meaning you should be able to borrow more). The theory is that it will allow 2nd movers to upgrade and get the market flowing a but more. Without this I'm screwed so hopefully it will work out as anticipated.
  • FWB 8 Sep 2013 10:49:03 53,284 posts
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    I thought it was just for first time buyers?
  • skuzzbag 8 Sep 2013 10:50:18 5,950 posts
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    It's only London that is that mental though.
  • Tonka 8 Sep 2013 10:50:43 25,259 posts
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    I don't know if it's cold where you live but in Sweden heating is another big factor to take into account. The cost of heating a house during winter can be massive.

    Also, don't rush into anything.

    And the location bit.
  • skuzzbag 8 Sep 2013 10:58:15 5,950 posts
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    FWB wrote:
    I thought it was just for first time buyers?
    It is but if one has been sensible and not spunked ones money on BMWs and completely overreaching oneself during the time of owning the first property. there should be money in the pot for a decent deposit on the second property and no need for extra help.

    Most people waste it on nice cars and their image though.
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