Connie, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to touch upon your question. I'm trying to compose a more direct answer, but for now, here's a copy of a newsletter article I wrote about my homebuying criteria. Hope this helps a little!
You won’t find anyone who appreciates the emotional nuances of home more than
homemakers, which is why my answer might surprise you. I’m all about the
No house, however charming, is worth risking your family’s financial future. Because I am committed to staying at home, we choose homes that have both budget flexibility and money-making potential.
Even if this is your “forever home,” life happens! Buying with an eye toward resale can’t hurt. We want to search for places mentioned in Ezekiel 28:26: And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence.
Since every market varies, I thought I would share my family’s criteria for house hunting. Naturally, yours will differ; however, the simple act of clarifying your bottom line may save you from a costly emotional decision.
1. The home must be in a rapidly appreciating neighborhood AND/OR be so far under value that the neighborhood doesn’t matter. It takes good research on your part, a calculator, and/or a smart agent to figure this out. You may look at 100 homes and make 10 offers before you find a winning combination.
2. The home should be “entry level” for its neighborhood—not the biggest or most expensive. There will always be a need for first-time buyer homes in every market.
3. The home should need cosmetic repair only or be within our repair abilities. Future profits dissolve when you must hire outside help. The major systems should be in working order for the next five years. We budget ONE major repair, just in case. Take advantage of free estimates from professionals before you buy the home.
4. Hardwood floors are permanent flooring, relatively cheap to clean and refinish. They add perceived value to your home upon resale.
5. The home’s major living areas should face south, making rooms look brighter. You can’t buy sunlight for a dark house.
6. Kitchen cabinets should be quality materials, if unattractive. Even the cheapest pressboard cabinets cost money and time for installation. Refinish or paint existing cabinets and add new knobs from Ebay.
This simple list has steered us away from money pits and model homes alike.
House hunting with my head instead of my heart has freed me from perfectionism. I don’t have to worry about living with a decorating mistake or rotten neighbors forever.
I can keep my mind focused on another, forever home: For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1.