30
 1,639

 buying a house- things you wished you'd considered

Our house hunting trip is a week and a half away (!!!! EEEK!!!!!) and I'm starting to stress myself out. There is SO much we need to do and only a week to do it all. So I need help and I'm calling on the Hive to direct me here!

What are some of the things you wished you'd looked at or considered when you bought your house? Things that you hate now and realize that you overlooked.

Things on my list:
school cachment zones
daycares
work/commute
water pressure (I'm SO going to turn on the showers! LOL)
Lighting, though this will be tough because we won't be looking at night
flow of workspace in the kitchen, counter-cupboard clearance and light angles in the kitchen (right now the only usable workspace I have is directly in my shadow because the light is behind me and it drives me bonkers)

Umm... I'm sure there's more, but what are the things you find that you wish you had (or you are glad you had) considered when you bought your house?
avatar
 26 Apr 2012 11:49 PM
 27 Mar 2012
map
Rookie
52
- Stairs
- Location of laundry room (see stairs again, lol!)
- Traffic
- size of kids' rooms
- storage
- garden space in the yard
avatar
 26 Apr 2012 11:55 PM
 25 Apr 2012
Menchie
New Member
37
Length of driveway (snow removal, ugh)
Size of kitchen
I would want an ensuite in my next house
Mainfloor laundry would be nice.
Yard Size
avatar
 26 Apr 2012 11:56 PM
 24 Jun 2006
 The middle of the Pacific
Whizz
Postaholic
6,387
One of the houses we like the looks of has laundry in the basement but bedrooms on the upper floor. I told DH last night that I want a laundry shoot with a dumb waiter teeth
avatar
 26 Apr 2012 11:58 PM
 17 May 2009
6thyear
Addict
4,896
Not deal breakers, but things to keep an eye out for in case you need to work around them...

-location/number of plug ins (our "microwave slot" didnt have one)
-cable/phone hook-ups (our house has no phone hook ups and cable was a wire coming in the window!)
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 7:13 AM
 2 May 2005
Maritime Mama
Raving Lunatic
11,970
Take a walk in the neighborhood - are there many kids?
Fence
How old appliances, hot water tank, Woodstove are...
Fans in bathrooms - an inspector should check this anyhow.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 8:10 AM
 4 Sep 2007
KnockedUp
Fan
652
Natural light. Our main living areas are jn the dark for most of the day, requiring lights on pretty much 24/7/365. Drives me nuts, I feel like I'm in a cave alot.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 8:40 AM
 2 Apr 2003
Sleeping Beauty
Devotee
1,188
Storage and closet space
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 8:44 AM
 10 Sep 2006
 Southwestern Ontario
AJsLove
Postaholic
5,604
Natural light. We get a little bit of light in the living room in the morning for about an hour and about an hour of light in my baby's room in the evening, otherwise we get NO sun in the house. In the winter we don't even get the morning light. We have no windows at the front of the house on the main floor. I really want to replace my front door to get one with a window but we have other things we need to do first.

Shade/Sun in the yard. Our backyard gets morning sun and then half the yard is in the shade by noon. This wouldn't be a big deal except our yard is TINY so we can almost never sit out in the sun.

Kitchen drawers. Our drawers are so narrow we can't fit a cutlery thing in there, so we have 2 plastic bin things holding forks and knives, and then the teaspoons, tablespoons, and desert forks are all just thrown in the drawer. They're separated, but they move all over the place and together as we open and close the drawers.

I would love either main floor or upstairs laundry next time. I get laundry lazy and leave the last load in the dryer for days because I just don't want to walk to the basement anymore.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 9:36 AM
 24 May 2007
 Richmond Hill, Ontario
new2here
Addict
4,652
Check out the neighborhood at different times of the day ie saturday nights, do you neighbors blast music or all hang out in the garage smoking? Other things like size of kids rooms and amount of bedrooms if growing your family. Also check out how many cars go up and down the street. We live on a court with not much traffic so I feel safer when dd is out with me.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 9:42 AM
 13 Aug 2002
 Toronto
FriendsFirst
Queen of the Forum
28,628
All the above, plus:

- proximity to transit (both for convenience, but also for potential noise. Our house backs onto a main road and it's not generally an issue, but if we ever have to lose the trees in the backyard, it'll be a heck of a lot louder)

- ease of access from multiple routes... is the subdivision an closed enclave with a single route in/out? If so, where is the house in proximity to that route and where is the entrance/exit relative to your commute? What level of inconvenience will it pose if there ever needs to be significant road work at that one entrance/exit? Are there traffic lights controlling entry/exit? Are they timed well? Is there a dedicated left turn lane? (our house is in an older subdivision... there are multiple ways into/out of the subdivision and I've used them all at various points in the 5 years we've been there for one reason or another. The closest route has traffic lights out onto the main road, but at most, 5 cars can get through per change and most traffic turns left, with no dedicated lane, and often traffic backs up beyond our street... so it's even more handy to have an alternate route out of the subdivision to avoid that particular route)

Basically... don't forget when you're shopping for a house that you're also shopping for a neighbourhood, and you need to consider the practicalities of THAT, too. A house you can, if necessary, renovate... a neighbourhood, not so much.


Also consider... proximity of fire hydrants, fire halls, ambulance stations, storm drains, hydro vaults, etc.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 9:43 AM
 11 Mar 2005
 Niagara Falls
DeniselovesMike
Raving Lunatic
11,303
linen closet, drawers in the kitchen, storage.

all things our house is lacking

how many screens on a bank of windows, we have 3 big windows on the front and only one opens
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 10:35 AM
 28 Dec 2005
 Winnipeg
Nuevodia
Raving Lunatic
12,491
Natural light.

My living room and the entire front of the house get so much. Like, it's ridiculous. Only trouble is that the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom (where I am the most) get almost none. I'd have looked for a house that faced the other way.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 10:48 AM
 24 Jan 2005
 Calgary
tojules
Raving Lunatic
11,202
If it has a garage, don't be afraid to see if your car fits. First day in our new house DH parked in the garage and nearly scraped the garage door down his bumper. Our current garage is a lot narrower than our old garage, DH and I had to trade sides as well...it's a little shorter. We just made the assumption it looked the same as ours. It's not a big deal, but if you've got a big vehicle it could be important.

If there are empty fields around you, ask what they're putting in there. Our realtor got us a construction map for the entire neighbourhood...we knew what all the empty spaces were going to be for blocks around us.

Check for street parking. Is there enough room when you have guests over?

Check your landscaping, fencing height and deck height. We need to plant some trees this year and put up a privacy panel on the deck just to give us a little separation from the neighbours...they're awesome, but I don't need to watch them on their deck when I'm on ours.

Oh...and check the neighbouring yards. If its a dump now, expect it to stay a dump later. Our neighbours are pretty meticulous about their yards...awesome for us. smile
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 12:02 PM
 9 Sep 2009
 Calgary, AB
raisingirl
Devotee
1,134
For us a huge one is which direction the yard faces. Currently our back deck faces east, so we only have sun in the morning on the deck. This is a huge drawback for us, as we love to spend evenings outside, but it usually is too cold with no sun back there. So this is a huge item on our next wishlist.
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 1:05 PM
 3 Mar 2010
 Calgary
MizD
Fan
937

I'm probably repeating a bunch, but here is what comes to mind for me:

-traffic flow in the immediate community. How many entrances are there in and out of your community. For example, mine has 1. So if there is an accident on that road, I am pooched in getting to work on time

-enough on street parking for guests/extra vehicles

-direction of back yard; we had a west facing one and I hated it, as it got too hot to use in the summer

-direction of master bedroom windows; ours faces east and I love having the morning sun in our room, and it's not hot in the summer either

-main floor laundry (hate the basement for laundry)

-stairs...too steep? conveniently placed?

-ceiling height in basement (ours are 8 foot in the basement and I love it)

-plenty of accessible storage space

-garage width; ours is extra wide and it's handy

Originally Posted By: tojules
avatar
 27 Apr 2012 2:32 PM
 24 Oct 2005
Gerberadaisygirl
Devotee
1,724
The only thing I will add is entry space. Our old house was a bungalow and the entry was super small (stairs up / stairs down)...this was ok when it was just 2 of us, but bringing kids in with winter clothes etc became a huge pain and there was nothing we could do about it. Good luck!
avatar
 28 Apr 2012 4:55 PM
 14 Oct 2005
 GTA, ON
mrsmat2b
Postaholic
7,744

Where do I start?

- slope of driveway: didn't realize that my kid wouldn't have anywhere to ride a trike/bounce a ball/etc
- phone jacks: our split level house has two. one is in the furnace room in the basement, and one is in the master bedroom and that's it (none on the main living levels at all).

If we ever moved I would also look for:
- ensuite bath off the master bdrm
- main/upper level laundry
avatar
 28 Apr 2012 7:26 PM
 2 May 2009
googles
New Member
43
My next house will have the backyard visible and easily accessible from the kitchen or living room. Right now I only have a view of the backyard from the bedrooms and it's obstructed at that. Great yard but we don't use it as much as we like b/c with little kids I need to be out there with them at all times. When one has to pee we have to drag everyone up the steps, around back into the house, it's a major PITA. If I could have easy access and a good view I could at least cook or tidy the kitchen and keep a good eye on them. Also don't get to look at our fabulous garden blooming unless we are standing at the bedroom windows with our heads cranked. Right now we have street view from the living room/ kitchen.
avatar
 28 Apr 2012 8:40 PM
 4 Jan 2012
MrsMum
Chatterbox
334
Going by what I think I'm missing in this house...

- a yard where I can put YDD's toys out, without everything being on an angle!
Our yard is 'slightly' sloped, and when we were looking at the house, and even when we're in our yard, I don't notice it, untill I go to put out her water table, or our dinky pool, and nope, it's a no go! DH wants to get her and the twins a backyard playground, but that'll involve a WHOLE lotta backyard digging and trenching, and a whole lotta work neither one of us would know where to begin!

- I am now wishing we had gone for a 4 bedroom house, but these twins were an unforseen blessing, so we're going to make do with 2 rooms and 4 girls! I'm thinking of sticking the three youngest together untill ODD either moves out or we finally upgrade to 4 rooms!


I honestly can't think of anything I would change about my house, it's not everyones cup of tea, but we love it!
avatar
 28 Apr 2012 8:59 PM
 8 Aug 2008
MooseHead
Raving Lunatic
10,422
I have my own input/gripes but I just can't help but comment to those with young kids, no matter how many...those years are very short.

I've 'done' those years and they seem to last forever and you're stuck in some kind of time warp. One year old seems like 5 years or forever; 5 years old seems like 20 years or 'no end in sight' but planning a home purchase shouldn't be based on such a short term. Unless its a short term purchase.
avatar
 28 Apr 2012 10:49 PM
 24 Jun 2006
 The middle of the Pacific
Whizz
Postaholic
6,387
Well moosie, funny you should say that. I actually have NO idea if this is going to be a short term or long term thing. How's that for throwing in an extra wrench?!! DH's job involves being transferred, though not at any particular interval necessarily. We've moved twice in 6 years, with this move being #3 but hopefully if we pick the right house in the right community he'll have access to a number of different locations within a short(ish) distance. That would mean we could stick with our house and not move. Or we could move, if we felt so inclined.

BUT.

Just because we have plans to stick around this neck of the woods doesn't mean his employer will see things the same way and we could end up in Nunavut for all I know.

Some days I think I would like a nice, new house in a new subdivision that won't require any work but has a small lot (but is very close to recreation and shopping). We can get rid of most of the outdoor toys and just hit up the parks or the pool or whatever. Other days I think we would do better to get a place with a bytchin back yard. Or acreage, even if it means being further from town and thus being further from all the happenin spots.

So basically, I'm nowhere even close to leaning to one side or the other. Ugh. I guess really all I can do is go in with my list of things to watch for (like phone jacks in the utility room... hehe) and try to come up with the most exhaustive list of pros/cons we can in an effort to come to some sort of decision. In the span of a few days :s
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 12:39 AM
 6 Oct 2008
 Leduc AB
MrsGarrington
Addict
2,772
Why don't you just take measurements while you are there to see how much space you'll have for vehicles?
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 1:17 AM
 7 Nov 2007
 Winnipeg, Manitoba
his.fallen.angel
Postaholic
9,112
Are the garage dimensions not on the listings?

My biggest thing I wish we considered was the actually location of the house on the street. For suburbia, my street is very busy and it does not help matters that not only do we live only a few houses from a semi-main street, my driveway happens to perfectly line up with a back lane that people use to short cut their way to dropping/picking up their children from the school that I can see from my living room window. I've had people use my driveway as well as my front lawn as their own personal parking lot. Very annoying!
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 1:40 AM
 5 Jun 2005
 Vancouver, BC
sparklish
Postaholic
8,663
Just want to say that water pressure can be adjusted. If you have city water, pressure comes in very high off the street, and most homes have a pressure valve which lessens this pressure. If your water pressure is too low, it's just a matter of adjusting the valve. Our home didn't have such a valve when we bought it but we had one installed as our pressure was super-high, which can be hard wear and tear on the pipes. Our home inspector pointed this out, as did our plumber. I don't remember how much it cost, but it wasn't much. Someone with plumbing knowledge may be able to explain it better, but just thought I'd point it out, because I wouldn't base a house purchase on it.
avatar
 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
 buzzle.ca
buzzle
New Member
0

Want to continue the discussion?

For more discussion like this or to reconnect with weddingbells.ca forum members, check out the forums at buzzle.ca!
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 1:47 AM
 24 Jun 2006
 The middle of the Pacific
Whizz
Postaholic
6,387
All this focus on garages! Wow! haha

Sparklish- I don't think I'd pass on a house because of crappy water pressure, but I would HATE to live through the next 10 years with a shower that piddles on me eek I guess if the pressure isn't satisfactory I can always ask the inspector to take a look at why it's low and what our options are. And by the looks of things, roughly half of the listings in the area are on either well, septic, or both. So there's lots to consider there as well.
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 11:14 AM
 3 Jan 2009
zoobaby
Postaholic
6,506
Jill - there's something about your posts that make me think I know what organization your DH is with (let's just say that I think I was probably one of your two boys in this exact scenario growing up!) If it's what I'm thinking of, although there's no guarantee about transfers, I think once you've been bumped around a few times in his early career, you tend to be more stable in a location for a longer time. Has he only had two transfers to date? Or has he done more? If he's done more than that, I'd say there might be a fair bet you'll be in your new location for awhile.
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 11:17 AM
 3 Jan 2009
zoobaby
Postaholic
6,506
^Just saw that this move is number 3 for you. In that case, remember that sometimes promotions mean transfers to far-flung places, but he can always decide to take a backseat to that if you're looking to stay put for longer. Although you just never know what they have in store!
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 12:54 PM
 24 Jun 2006
 The middle of the Pacific
Whizz
Postaholic
6,387
Zoobaby, you are correct in your guess. From what I recall reading of your own posts in the past we share some commonalities there wink This is technically move #3, but I am including our initial move for his first post in there as well. So technically speaking this is only transfer #2. We chose Vancouver Island because it means a lot more opportunity in a fairly condensed area compared to the Northern BC posts we've taken (or been given) thus far. The hope is that when he's ready to move on (or be kicked out LOL) that we'll be able to keep our house and he can take a job within another community that's close enough to commute to. That's the hope, but anyone familiar with this "organization" knows that nothing you plan is ever going to turn out the way you want it to. I'd be better off planning to move to Siberia, then I might be pleasantly suprised if I got to stay in the community we choose! LOL

And as for this:
Originally Posted By: DeniselovesMike
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 8:48 PM
 15 Mar 2004
 Toronto
Humber
Postaholic
5,333
Having just gone through the house hunting havoc...I had a really short 'must-have-won't-compromise-on' list. All it included was a main-floor laundry room (I've been doing laundry in the basement for 8 years and it SUCKS.)

Other things that really appealed to us:
- Access to the garage from the house (again, never had it before and hope it will change our lives)
- No Sidewalk on our property
- Big Enough driveway to fit 2 cars end to end (cause we don't currently have it and the street parking is annoying)
- Natural Light/ More Windows (I hate living in the dark)
- Exposure of the backyard (as a pp said, we love to spend time outside, but by 4 we are in shade and it's too cold)

Other things to think about
- is the basement finished or not (around here that adds about 40k onto the price of a house)
- does it need new windows (this was a big one for us)
- does it need a new rood (if so, when and what's the condition)
- does the furnace need replacing

And, while you are on a tight timeline I gather, don't feel you have to jump at the first house you see, even if you feel pressured by the agent to do so...it's a BIG decision!
avatar
 29 Apr 2012 9:52 PM
 20 Oct 2009
kahicpep
Devotee
1,253
neighbours. it totally makes a difference.
avatar
 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
 buzzle.ca
buzzle
New Member
0

Want to continue the discussion?

For more discussion like this or to reconnect with weddingbells.ca forum members, check out the forums at buzzle.ca!

More Like This...