Confession: Joe and I started looking at houses before we got married. We briefly considered buying one instead of renting an apartment. Obviously, we didn't end up buying, but Joe was always browsing, so I guess you could say that we spent three years house hunting. We've spent hours looking at pictures of houses, toured a few in person, and discussed endlessly what priorities we had in the features of our future house. The process and now having lived in our new house has made me realize that in addition to our "first home priorities", there were a few silly things we should have considered that we maybe didn't.
^^ A "before" picture of our backyard. It looks SO much different now, I can't wait to show you pictures!!! ^^
Amberly's First Home Priorities
Having an open concept in the main living spaces was probably my biggest request. I wanted to be able to entertain and have people over without feeling cramped or separated by a walls. The silliest priority I had was that we have a garage. Since I started driving, I've never had the novelty of parking my car in a garage at night. Covered parking at apartments are decent because you don't have to scrape your car in the morning, but it's still a lot colder for the first few minutes of your drive than it would be with a garage. I was also set on having at least two and a half bathrooms. Living with a man who camps out in the bathroom makes you appreciate the luxury of having more than one toilet.
After moving in, I've decided that in addition to the open concept for entertaining inside the house, I need a bigger deck/patio area in the back yard for entertaining out there. Our deck is in pretty bad shape, it wasn't even worth staining this year, so I have a feeling that will be our big project next summer. Built in firepit, here we come!!! It's also important to me to have somewhere that I can go and hang out, just me. Joe has picked the office as his personal space (although I'm still allowed to use it) and I have picked the basement bathroom (although it will be the one guests use and Joe is of course allowed to use it too). We put in a deep, soaking tub and I plan on decorating the room to fit my idea of comfort and sanctuary.
^^ My kitchen before renovation. The changes in this room are AWESOME!!! I can't wait to share! ^^
Joe's First Home Priorities
One of the first things Joe looked for any time we were considering a house was whether or not it had an RV pad for parking his trailer. He always pulled up Google Maps to look at the size of the yard, how much grass there was, and if there was space to park things on the side of the house. The silliest priority that Joe had was that all of our toilets have oblong seats, which was very doable with our renovation. I don't think his reasoning for that needs any explanation. He was also set on our house having a dishwasher. In the year that we went without one, Joe learned that washing dishes by hand is his least favorite chore in the entire world!
After buying our house, one of his top priorities in our renovation was that the master shower have two shower heads. I'm still trying to figure out how this played out in his brain because the guy hates to get wet but wants double the water while he's showering. He also spent a lot of time wiring our house so that it was set up for a home network. It's one of the things that he likes to show off to everyone. Because of the construction that we did, he was even able to request an electrical outlet higher up on the wall in our master bedroom so our TV can be mounted and the cords won't hang down and show.
^^ It needed cleaning up, and we need new gravel, but it's perfect for parking a trailer during the winter! ^^
Things We Considered Before Buying Our Home
Proximity to the Freeway
- From our last apartment, it took us about five to ten minutes to get to a freeway entrance depending on traffic. Our first apartment was fairly close to the on ramp, but we still had to make it through three or four lights depending on which route we took and those can really cut into your travel time. No matter which direction we're headed, the freeway is only a couple minutes from our house, the traffic to get there is minimal and it's cut down on our commute even though we moved further away from both of our jobs.
Proximity to Family
- Living close to family isn't a huge priority for a lot of people, but for us, it is. Both of our parents live just a couple of blocks away from each other and it makes visiting them every week really convenient. At one point, we were house hunting in their neighborhood and I cried a little inside when a house in their area became available right after we'd close on ours. (We got a much better layout, so I didn't cry for too long.) Although I don't think we'd ever have an
Everybody Loves Raymond
situation if we lived that close, or even next door to our parents, I think living ten minutes away from the for our entire marriage has been beneficial. We're close enough that visiting is easy, I can pick something up at my mom's house without going too far out of my way, and my mother-in-law can visit her grand-puppy as much as her heart desires (we're well aware that's one of the only reasons she comes to our house). But we're also far enough away that we're not tempted to hang out at their house every single night and they're not tempted to pop in without any notice to borrow an egg.
Proximity to Frequented Spots
- On the first day of class, I was excited to find that from my driveway to my parking spot on campus, my drive only took 10 minutes. If there's traffic or the lights aren't in my favor, it takes 15 minutes. This cut at least 10 minutes off of my previous commute. I love this especially after night classes when I just want to get home. I mentioned before that we are close to family, and we visit them weekly, so this is really convenient. We love that there is a gas station just around the corner for easy filling on our way to work in the morning, there is a really good walking trail just a block away from us, and we are a three minute drive from an awesome outdoor shopping center that has also been helping the value of the houses in the area go up.
^^ The vaulted ceilings and open space between the front room and kitchen is my favorite! ^^
Silly Things We Wish We'd Considered Before Buying
- Our address has two similar numbers and for a while, we could never remember which one came first and which one was associated with which direction. We've got it memorized now, but when we first bought the house, we used to joke that we should have bought one with an easy address to remember.
- There aren't as many places to eat within a few miles of our house as there were at our last two apartments. We are also in a different part of the county, one that we never usually visited before, so we aren't familiar with a lot of the restaurants nearby. This could be a good thing because it's not as convenient to ditch my dinner plans for eating out, and it will be fun to try and discover new places that are closer to home than our usual eats.
What are your priorities when you're looking for a place to live?