Unlike most little girls who grow up dreaming of their perfect wedding, I have always dreamt of my perfect tower. Since my financial circumstances do not allow for a Qu Tower (QT) at the moment, I thought a house would be a good compromise.
My therapist once told me that a way to stop comparing yourself with others (in my case, my romantic relationships with other people’s) is by knowing your negotiables and non-negotiables – things you are and aren’t willing to compromise on – based on your core values.
I applied the same principal to my home search criteria, and came up with the following list:
- Single family house (no apartments)
- Excellent school district (important factor for home value and resell)
- Hardwood floors (carpet is gross – I’d remove it even if it’s new)
- Manageable yard with privacy
- At least 2 full bathrooms
- 3-4 bedrooms
- No swimming pool (huge liability for resell)
- One-car garage
- One bathtub (important for resell – kids take baths!)
- Move-in ready (not looking for a fixer upper)
Nice to have
- Good community amenities – close to a swimming pool
- No HOA fee*
- Less than 3,000 square feet
- Gas stove
- Colonial style with curb appeal
- Recently renovated/remodeled
- No lead-based paint (common in pre-1978 houses)
- High ceiling
- Natural light
- Walk-in closet in master bedroom
- Extra height counters for kitchen and master bathroom (I’m tall)
- Minimal entryway and in-house stairs
- Open kitchen with good amount of countertop space and storage
- Electric fireplace
- Crown molding
- Finished, walk-out basement
*My agent explained that HOA-governed communities are generally well-maintained. Therefore, an HOA fee actually protects your home value, and can be considered a positive.
This list was helpful for two reasons:
- I presented it to all 12 real estate agents I interviewed, and asked them for their feedback and suggestions. More on agent selection in my next post.
- It allowed me to narrow my online search and quickly sift through all the listings using filters and alerts.
You might be surprised to learn that I have found a house after just a month and a half. I submitted an offer Friday evening (before the the 4th of July weekend), and it was accepted just before midnight on Friday. Looking back at this list, I can tell you this house has only 7.5 of the 10 must-have’s. And yet, I am absolutely in love with the house… despite not having seen it in person (don’t panic – I will explain in my next post). Funny how things work out 🙂