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Steve Alvest


Things to look for when buying a home

I've bought two homes so far in my lifetime. I've been considering making another move within the next three years to somewhere far from here. I'd probably rent for at least a year or two to get a feel for the new area, then I would consider buying another home. What are the most important things to look for?

Things to look for when buying a home

    1. Good schools

    This is probably my number one factor. I have three school age kids. However, I think good schools are important even if you don't have kids. The schools in an area are a reflection of the values in the area. Good schools often mean many other important factors in the environment are also good, like safety, friendliness, investment in the future, amenities, etc.

    2. Walking trails

    When you buy a home, you're also buying into the area around it. It's important to me that I can leave my house and go for a walk in nature whenever I feel like it.

    3. Minimum number of rooms

    People have different tastes, but I prefer more smaller rooms over fewer larger rooms. Having many smaller rooms allows me to assign a specific purpose to each room. Having a good number of bathrooms is also important for me, since I have a family of five. If I could build my own house, I'd throw in a couple of secret rooms as well.

    4. Proximity to a major city

    I don't like going into big cities, but I like having them around for rare conveniences. For example, I live near Washington D.C., but I visit the city only once every couple of years. It's nice one those rare occasions to be able to just visit an international embassy, or a nationally renowned hospital, or a national museum.

    5. Nearby shopping

    I'm not much of a shopper, but I do like being able to "run to the store" easily if I need something immediately.

    6. Good public library system

    I use my local library system a lot. My local one lets me borrow pretty much any book. They also let me borrow Kindle ebooks, movies, and electronic magazines (I was surprised that they let me read the latest Writer's Digest online). They also had lots of events for kids that came in helpful back when my kids were toddlers.

    7. No power lines

    One thing I look out for when buying a home is nearby power lines. I don't like having them near the house.

    8. Big kitchen

    I cook pretty much every meal for the family. I actually kind of enjoy it. I like to have a big kitchen island and a ventilation hood over the stove. I wouldn't want to live in a house if the kitchen is small.

    9. A big grassy yard

    I have a border collie mix who needs plenty of exercise. I don't always have time to play with him, so it's important that he can go outside and entertain himself.

    10. Tankless water heater

    Most houses in the United States have big hot water tanks. Soon after I bought my current home, the old water heater broke down, and we opted to get a tankless water heater to replace it. I love it. No more "running out" of water after two or three kids took showers. No more inefficient tank constantly keeping water hot while you're out of the house.

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