Move-In: Will I Like What I Bought?
Written By: PJ Wade
Monday, September 02, 2019
Home buyersndash;especially first-timersndash;who have not experienced the reality of the home-design features and household systems that are on their ldquo;must haverdquo; list, may be at a disadvantage while searching for their dream home. For instance:
bull; Originally, ldquo;must haverdquo; stainless steel appliances drove many homeowners crazy since the surfaces showed every fingerprint and grease smudge. What if you pay more to get stainless only to find out something else is now the ldquo;inrdquo; kitchen look in that area?
bull; ldquo;Must-haverdquo; expensive granite counter tops look fabulous at open houses and in model homes. In reality, messy, spilling daily living means unsightly staining and regular maintenance sealing, not me>
How many of the ldquo;must havesrdquo; on your home-buying wish list have you already experienced and how many items will be new to you? Some of the things that may become concerns for buyers after move-in may seem less important or even insignificant before they live in the home.
Even the most sought-after wishes like open-concept design can disappoint:
bull; If you are a project lover quilter, entrepreneur, model makerhellip; who wants to leave your latest and unfinished creation undisturbed when yoursquo;re interrupted, open-concept design may lead to your project corner being labeled ldquo;an unsightly mess.rdquo;
bull; Parents who count on uninterrupted lines of sight making it easier to keep their small children out of trouble may find theyrsquo;re still not close enough for safety. The >bull; Excerpt from my earlier RT article: ldquo;If the lsquo;must haversquo; list for your new home, recreational property, or office includes hardwood flooring, large windows, high ceilings, open-concept design, and lots of marble and granite, you may be shopping for troublehellip;sound-wise, that is. These sought-after, high-end features can add up to noisy, distracting spaces. They look great, but are hard on the ear and, therefore, on conversation, hearing, >
Even what unquestionably seems a benefit worth paying for can be a let down in real life or may add costs in unexpected ways. For example:
bull; A resale home with a new furnace sounds like value plus, but if the old duct system did not distribute heat evenly and efficiently, replacing only the furnace may not result in a comfortable, draft-free home. Find out exactly what was modernized. Make sure your home inspection includes a competent HVAC evaluation of the heating and cooling delivery systems.
bull; All the reasons you love large windows and the open, airy, natural-light spaces they create are valid and thatrsquo;s why yoursquo;re willing to pay more for a house or condominium that has them, buthellip;and the ldquo;butrdquo; may be a big one:
bull; If the windows and window-walls are poor quality or poorly-insulated, windowsndash;which are really just big holes in the wallndash;can be drafty or make rooms hard to heat. On the other extreme, over-heating during sunny days and in summer can make the living space very uncomfortable and boost AC costs.
bull; If the view from the window includes being overlooked by other houses, pedestrians, or buses and traffic, homeowners can feel they are living in a fish bowlndash;on display for all to see. This means, perhaps unexpectedly, window coverings become a necessity. Large windows may require automated or programmable open/close systems which are expensive. In many of the new large-window homes in my highly-urban neighborhood, the blinds seem to always be down, which means less natural light and less of that sought-after airy feeling.
bull; If yoursquo;re buying from plans with ldquo;architect renderingsrdquo; of surroundings, trust your eyes over an artistic interpretation. Go to the location and look across the street and at neighboring buildings to see for yourself what yoursquo;ll be looking at and whorsquo;ll be looking at you. Take pictures so you can ask the sales team which views will be yours.
To avoid unpleasant move-in surprises, herersquo;s four typical buyer expectations to check out before you make an offer:
1. Off-site parking is often not considered until the first house-warming guests come to visit. Check out local parking regulations and availability of parking permits. My block has no street parking before 10am and there are no more on-street parking permits available.
2. Wherersquo;s south? If yoursquo;re ready to pay more for a large backyard and/or a pool, a south-facing backyard may be key. If yoursquo;re an avid gardener, a south-facing front yard may be your preference. Or, if either passive solar heating or summertime over-heating are on your mind, where the sun strikes will matter. At the same time, evaluate large window placement and views for the best interior benefits.
3. Are you planning to pay more for a location? Perhaps one near a preferred school or shopping mall? Check to make sure the school is accepting new enrollment and has maintained its high scholastic standard. Explore the mall to see how itrsquo;s exposed to the current trend toward store closings.
4. If your wish is a quiet, residential location, be sure a hi-rise development, housing subdivision, or municipal project is not planned for your immediate area. Construction of a large project can go on for years.
What might unpleasantly surprise you about your new homendash;house or condominium unitndash;once you move in?
Regrets and ldquo;if only Irsquo;dhellip;rdquo; recriminations are expensive and annoying to live with. Ask your real estate professional a lot of questions and get confirming documented proof about anything essential about your ldquo;must haverdquo; items so you avoid move-in disappointment. Some details may even belong in the offer.
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