Choosing the Right House For You

I have a few people in my life right now who are on the house hunt, which got me thinking about when we bought our current home two years ago. Choosing the right house for you requires a bit of focus and commitment. Focus will help you decide the things that are really needed for your life. Commitment requires staying true to that list and not getting sidetracked with shiny objects. Let me explain.

Choosing Our First Empty Nest Home

At the time our youngest child was getting married, we were drastically downsizing to start our life as empty nesters. We had been trying to sell our home in a market that was dead for anything that was above the average price range. All of the sudden we received two offers in one week, when our house wasn’t even on the market. At the time, we were also planning a daughter’s wedding! Things were a bit crazy.

The Life That's Lived There
This is the house that we sold. Although it had nice square footage, I’m not missing it.


What You Really Want

I believe we all have our deal breakers of what makes the house right for us, like it HAS TO BE one story, or two story. It might have to have a space for a home office, or provide a fenced-in yard for a pet. You may want this or that, but will you ever find exactly everything?

The interesting part is, most of our lists of what we want could be quite long, but there are very few houses that have everything up front.  However, thanks to renovation, you can still have it all. Changing things is something I’ve never been afraid of, but many do not feel that way. But if you truly want to have everything you need, you have to first know what that is.

I’ve come up with a few questions to ask yourself to discover what it is your heart really requires. Then you can formulate your list of dealbreakers, and things that can be added or renovated.

What is it about your current home that works for you or does not?

Think of daily tasks and whatever area ends up being the messiest and most chaotic. This is a clue that you need something different, and identifying this could help you ponder some desires for your home. Also pay attention to your pet-peeves. They annoy you for a reason and with a house (easier than a person) you can fix them!

Who lives in the house and what are your needs?

This might include; handicap accessibility, main floor master, multiple bedrooms, mother-in-law quarters, home office, larger garage, workspace, places for animals, playroom, etc. Outline what you really must have, and save the desires for another list.

How do you prefer to live in your home?

Do you entertain a lot, cook every night, tend to be messy or uber neat, or work too much to hang there much? All these answers can give you clues to what you need or can create to suit your lifestyle. Write all of this down and study the answers to get to know yourself a bit. It might be helpful to interview other family members who will live there as well and get their ideas.

Obviously, consider the ages of who is giving you ideas. If the 4 year-old demands a jumbo slide inside the house, consider the source. Focus on what you need now that makes sense, and what you may need in 10 years.

MUST-HAVES and Dealbreakers

A good location 

Talk to any real estate agent and they will tell you it’s all about location, location, and location. For me this is always true because chances are, I’m not going to live there too long and resale is very important. Real estate is an important part of anyone’s investments, so location is key. Personally, I would much rather have the ugliest or smallest house in the neighborhood because I plan to change all that anyway. There will be a greater upside later.

You also need to figure into the mix how big the upside could be for the location so you do not over-improve. Return on investment is important. And you can change a lot about a house, but not it’s location.

Entry and hallways 

This is one of my personal pet peeves that guide me to say yay or no on a house. An entry can be established with creative space planning, but hallways are tough to change throughout an overall house. I grew up in a house with a nice formal entry and a bit more spacious upper hallway for a nice middle class home. I’m guessing my obsession about this stems from that.

But I just can’t deal with closed in, narrow hallways, and entry ways that have you hitting the staircase with your butt the moment you step into them. The house has to be pretty great in many ways to counter balance this for me.

The Life That's Lived There
This is our wide upper hallway at the top of the stairs that provides a lot of space for a smaller house. When we bought the house, this space didn’t look this way, even though some of the cabinets were there. Everything can be changed, but the wide open space sold me on the second floor!


The Life That's Lived There
A wide hallway makes my heart happy!


Storage possibilities

I will admit, I have a lot of stuff and I like to organize. Having ample storage keeps the rest of the house flowing and living properly. To me, if you’ve got this down right, then your house never has to be in complete chaos. Always consider current storage, space that can become storage, and reworking current storage to suit your needs.

New or Old?

 Do you want it brand new so you don’t have to do too much work to personalize it? Or do you prefer things with a history? For me, I would never buy a home where the kitchen was just redone or the carpet is brand new, unless it is exactly the way I want it. And I’m pretty sure that would never happen exactly that way. I’d rather make those choices myself. You know what you are willing to live with and what you really want. Ask yourself, what the likelihood of you changing something that isn’t currently right.

You can then come up with a budget or time frame for how long it would take to change things. Factor this in when you make decisions.


The Life That's Lived There
My favorite room to re-do was the kitchen, because the change was so huge! I’m on the search for the before pictures, so hopefully they turn up soon!


Whether you are planning a move soon or needing an update to your current abode, hopefully stopping to ask yourself these questions and evaluate how you want to live in your house can help you create the ultimate home that you will love for your life that is lived there. Visit my Pinterest boards for great inspiration for your home.

Time to get pondering, Jill

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