10 Less Obvious Things to Consider When Buying a House

There are a lot more than 10 things that you need to consider when buying a house, but we all need to start somewhere. The idea behind this list is to get you thinking not just about the activity of buying a house, but about how you will live in your new home!

10 Things

  1. Where do you work? It might be obvious to you, but I find that not everyone really thinks about how their lifestyle could change by either living close to, or far away from, home.  If you work in the city, but are recharged by the country, is there somewhere that you could look that would allow you to commute? If you want to maximize your time at home, have you considered an area close to where you work?  Of course, keep in mind that your job situation could change, so you want a location that would allow you to consider jobs in other areas without the necessity of moving.
  2. What do you do on weekends and evenings? Do you run or walk? You should look at places that have sidewalks or running trails. If you kayak, do you want to be near a lake or river?  Is going to the theater your favorite evening activity?  Living out in the country might not make this easily accessible.
  3. Are you handy? Do you want to be handy? You may have dreamed of living in an old Victorian home, but if you hate working on your house, this might not be the right choice for you. Is your dream house near the water? It might require even more upkeep than homes further inland. That might be a great trade-off for you--or not. You need to be honest with yourself about how much time, and money, you have to spend on maintenance of your future home.
  4. Yard or no yard? For some buyers, a lush yard is a must-have. There are alternatives, however, that you should think about. If you buy in a community that is close to a park, you might be able to get a lot of the benefit without a lot of the expense and time required by a yard. How much of your own green space you need makes a big difference in the type of property you buy.
  5. Will your living situation change while you own the house? Is this a transitional house for you? Will you start out with a roommate and end up with a spouse and child? Will you have children moving out over time? Does the house suit your empty nest situation or will you want to sell at that point?  As you age, will you be able to stay in the house, or is this a house that will be great for a couple of years, but not where you will spend your golden years? Some houses are 3 year houses and others are homes for a lifetime. You don't need to know which one your purchase will be, but for most a 1 bedroom condo does not allow much room for a changing life situation.
  6. Are you stretching so much that furniture will be a dream?  Some people don't mind  deferring the pleasure of sitting on a coach and still others like to entertain from day one. Just make sure you understand what your financial picture will allow after you buy your home.
  7. Where will you be willing to sacrifice? Rarely, if ever, do buyers find a house that is ideal in every way. If you have to compromise, what will you be willing to give up? Closet space for larger yard? Remodeled kitchen for main-level laundry?
  8. Who has the final say? Are you the sole purchaser of this house? Does a spouse or parent have something to say about the house that you purchase? If you must have agreement from another party, whenever possible, you should see properties together. When things are a good deal and in good condition, they won't wait for you to schedule a second showing!
  9. Which is more important: Your Stuff or Your Lifestyle?  If you have always dreamed of a contemporary condo, then you might need to make other accommodations for the 10 boxes of holiday decorations you move along with you. If you can't bear to be separated from Granny's quilt collections or Uncle Joe's tractor collection, then you should factor space for  that into your 'must have' list.
  10. Are you ready for the responsibility? One thing that we have all learned from the recent housing crisis is that conditions change.  When you buy your new home, you should be willing to accept whatever the future brings (to the best of your ability). Don't take out an ARM loan if you can't afford the possibility of a larger payment. Be aware that your homeowners dues will go up.  Have a plan for what happens if you lose your job.  We can't know every challenge that we might face, but we can create the best possible situation for success by thinking ahead.

Buying a home can be a very exciting, and stressful, time. Thinking about some of these issues before you write the contract will hopefully make owning the home a more satisfying and successful experience!


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 Momentum Realty

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Comment balloon 67 commentsHolly Weatherwax • February 22 2011 09:06AM


Great post Holly! I love the are you Handy or do you want to be Handy?

Posted by Paige Walker, Real Estate Guru - Alexandria Pineville LA (Paige Walker) about 9 years ago

Good information here for buyers to consider. I think number 9 is really an issue, especially in places like Florida!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Great points for us to use when we talk to buyers.  Certainly size, location and price are important these things, when considered, can make "living" in the home more enjoyable and manageable.

Thanks for the post.

Posted by Virginia Dean, Real Estate Done Your Way (Keller Williams Tulare County) about 9 years ago

This is a good list, these are many points I try to share with my clients.

Your Friend in Charlottesville

Posted by Charles McDonald, REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions) about 9 years ago

Holly - good list. I just used some of these on a new couple I started working with, they are focusing on A rated schools, and short drive from work, but I'm helping them consider the entire package.

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) about 9 years ago

Holly, this is a good list of questions to ask when working with buyers.  Personally I like #9, stuff or lifestyle.  My goal every year is to declutter and simplify my life more each year.  I have found that I don't even miss the "stuff" and I can think and breathe so much more clearly.

Posted by Joyce Marsh, Regal Christie's International Real Estate (Regal | Christie's International Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Great suggestions, I am going to print so I will remember some of these for future reference thanks!

Posted by Donna Gallegos, I don't work 9 to 5, I work Start to Finish (South Group Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Great points to remember.  I find that most first time homebuyers just want a house and forget that they actually might want to re-sell the property in a couple of years.  Great information!

Posted by Cindy Greenya, Cindy Greenya (Century 21 Redwood Realty) about 9 years ago

I also go over with them, what life might bring them in a couple of years... ie,  do they need a bigger laundry room or mudroom. 

Posted by Judy Greenberg, Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes (Coldwell Banker Long Grove) about 9 years ago

#1 is verrrrrry important. Especially here in Northern Virginia, where 15 miles may equal 2 hours on a bad day.

Posted by Aaron Seekford, Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116 (Arlington Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Hello Holly;

This is a really good post; you've definately touched on a lot of "less obvious" points as you mentioned. Very solid and valuable information and advice.

All the Best!


Posted by Adell Forbes (REALTOR®), "Knowledge & Experience Working for You" (PalmerHouse Properties ) about 9 years ago

Good morning, Holly. Great list of “things” to consider... especially #10!

Posted by Bill Burchard, Broker, Realtor, Representing Buyers and Sellers (3B Realty: 951-347-3818, CA) about 9 years ago

Hi Holly -- Home buying is a much bigger deal than looking at homes and saying: I want that one.  You explored some of the finer points of home ownership as reality has a way of surfacing really quickly after closing -- very germane topics.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) about 9 years ago

This is a great post!  When working with a buyer - these questions will help me help them focus!  I love it!

Posted by Mary Stevenson (Best Choice Realtors) about 9 years ago

Number 9 is becoming more important all the time. I just added www.spatialmatch.com to my sites that allow for lifestyle search. I am waiting for our Board to approve their IDX search so that you can map how close you want a house of your parameters to be. Good stuff.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 9 years ago

Dear Holly,

Handy list, I will use it.  #4 and #9 are my hot buttons.  Lots of people think they want a large yard but realize that it's more than they want to take care of.  On #9, I have shown houses where the buyers are feverishly measuring rooms on home that they love to see if their furniture will fit.  I think to myself, "Don't you have this backwards"?

Posted by Peter Tamura, BANNOCHIE TEAM (Coldwell Banker Select) about 9 years ago

Great List!  I think there are so many of these things that people fail to consider because they "love" something about the house the first time they see it.

Posted by Jennifer Hall (Montana Homestead Brokers) about 9 years ago

Great list!  Another idea for information to use for an email drip on prospects.

Posted by Bill Rozek, NMLS #214260 (Embrace Home Loans, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Excellent post Holly.  Your clients are fortunate that you ask them these questions to succinctly define their home search.

Posted by Steve Matsumoto, First Time Home Buyers - Oceanside, CA (Winderemere Homes & Estates: waterfront condos, second homes) about 9 years ago

Good list.  Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) about 9 years ago

It's a good list to have, so thanks for getting this out to us today.

I've bookmarked it for future reference.


Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 9 years ago

This is a great compilation. Potential buyers should drive or walk around the area at different times of the day/week to make sure it really has the feel that you want. This is also a great way to check out local favorites (theaters, restaurants, etc) that may become your new hangouts.

Posted by Ilyce Glink, Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host. (Think Glink Media) about 9 years ago

Fantastic list Holly!

I just had this conversation with some clients last night.  They are purchasing a pretty expensive home and don't want to settle.  Some things they started going through was their list of lifestyle changes they would have to make.  One was the husband takes a shower in the bathroom outside of the master while his wife gets their two daughters under six ready for the day.  They aren't a "naked" family and with only girls in the house, they keep things behind towels and closed doors.  They realized they aren't quite ready to discuss the differences between boys and girls yet ; )

If they bought this particular house, it would be a lifestyle change for them and while they thought it was something they could get over, I told them not to settle just yet!

Posted by Tricia Hoffmann (Your Home Free) about 9 years ago

Holly....those are excellent tips.  If it wasn't already featured I would suggest it!  I am only sorry that the reblog feature is still not working or I would reblog this too.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) about 9 years ago

I like your list.  Very comprehensive.  I will refer to it in the future.

Posted by Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO, Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan) about 9 years ago

Great post.  Thanks for sharing, and I will share this with others.

Posted by Mark Quaintance (Windermere Real Estate - Utah) about 9 years ago

Great job with this post Holly. It's no wonder you've earned that little gold star!

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) about 9 years ago

Holly, these are the kind of questions I asked of myself years ago when I bought my first house. I think they are definitely as important as the ones about the house and mortgage. Congrats on the feature.

Posted by Teral McDowell (Referral Patners LLC) about 9 years ago

I feel like this list was on the forefront of my home purchase checklist!  Maybe I've got my priorities mixed up :)  This is a good list though and sometimes people get dazzled and forget that a 45-minute commute isn't the friendliest.

Posted by Torgie Madison, Websites and Contact Management (Quicksilver Real Estate Solutions, LLC) about 9 years ago

Well done Holly!  They may be less obvious considerations but they can have a big impact on your enjoyment of and the long term aspects of any home a buyer chooses.

Posted by Diane McDermott, Charlotte NC Real Estate Market (Realtor®, GRI, Landis e2 Real Estate, LLC) about 9 years ago

This is a great list of things to keep in mind. Another is the importance of schools if they have kids. You don't want to end up stuck in a dream home with a bad school for the kids.

Posted by Tricia DeSouza, Selling Scottsdale Luxury (HomeSmart) about 9 years ago

Great list Holly! Sometimes grass yards (mowing anyone?) and linear sidewalk footage (if you live in a snowy region) don't get focussed on when buying and then reality sets in after it's yours and now you have to take care of it. Good things to consider!

Posted by Peg Barcelo, The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC (Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369) about 9 years ago

Holly -- Wonderful post.  I just had a rental client who was enamored with a condo rental.  It really was lovely, but I asked her if it was suitable for her commute and her social lifestyle. At first she said she didn't care as she loved it.  But then she decided it wouldn't work and it was a good decision. The commute was excruciating, and the night life was non-existent.  We found her the perfect fit.  You can't change the location so you have to be sure it meets your needs.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Good information that buyers don't always think about.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Melissa Barkalow, Providing an Excellent Real Estate Experience (DCRE Residential) about 9 years ago

This is good thinking and talking points to help buyers narrow their search and make critical decisions.

Posted by Joyce Herr, Lancaster County & Beyond (Prudential Lancaster Real Estate) about 9 years ago


Excellent list.  We always start with where our buyers need to travel to each day or frequently.  While, we LOVE Atlanta traffic is a major challenge.  

We have a central location and are reminded daily on why we chose it, ease of less traffic and time wasted in traffic.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

There are a lot of things to consider and often people rush into buying for the wrong reasons and without answerin g these types of important questions.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 9 years ago

Thank you for the great information... I'm going to keep it on my computer and share it with potential buyers in the future...

Posted by Tiffany Taylor, Platinum Funding Group (Platinum Funding Group, Inc.NMLS-243033) about 9 years ago

All very good questions, and often more important that how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms

Posted by Jeanne Kozak, REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA (RE/MAX In Action) about 9 years ago

Buyers often have no idea and have never really thought about any of these questions.  Great list.

Posted by Janet McCarthy, Broker Associate (San Diego Homes Guide ) about 9 years ago

Excellent points Holly! Often these things can be overlooked when buyers are out in the market and fall in love with a place. Reality checks are important.

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes (Home Star Staging) about 9 years ago

Great post and good points. In fact, I'd love to reblog it but it says reblogging is temporarily disabled. Most of these things are what I try to tell my buyers, too since they so often get caught up in the excitment.

Posted by Sharon Sapp, For Old Fashioned Service with Today's Results! (Century 21 Gold) about 9 years ago

Important points to consider!  I especially like #6 -- it's not as fun having a new home if you can't afford to set it up the way you want it!

Posted by Melanie Hedrick, 972-816-7205 (Elite Texas Properties, the best homes from McKinney to Dallas!) about 9 years ago

Very good items for buyers to consider. A park as opposed to a yard can be a good trade off for clients that can't afford a house with a large yard. Recreation and commute are very important too. Great post!

Posted by Julie Baldino, Opening Doors to New Chapters... (Front Door Realty) about 9 years ago

Too many people often underestimate the cost of home insurance, repairs, deducts, and service. These can cost people thousands of dollars as well!

Posted by Jayson Hoffer, Mesa AZ 480-948-6115 Home, Auto, Life Insurance (Jayson Hoffer Insurance Agency Inc.) about 9 years ago

Here in Toronto, many people get lured out into the burbs because they can get much more house for their buck, but then they spend an extra hour each day commuting - those hours add up.  A starter condo in the city might make more sense - money and commute wise.

Posted by Adam Brown (RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd.) about 9 years ago

Great list, Holly.  In the past, I've tended to focus more on the physical aspects of a home purchase. This really rounds out the list. 

Posted by Marcie Sandalow, Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate (Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 ) about 9 years ago

That's a great list to get buyers thinking about what really matters. Another thing I think they should consider is whether they want to stretch as far as they can with a house payment, or have money left over for activities they enjoy. A house is a burden when it means you can't go out to dinner or ever take a vacation.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 9 years ago

Excellent list!!! Thanks for sharing - David

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) about 9 years ago

Good basic list of questions to help buyers formulate what they really want.

Posted by Gwen Kelly, Long Beach, CA Real Estate (Broadmoor Realty, Inc) about 9 years ago

Great list.  Why do we like lists so much?  I think I am going to post the top 10 reasons we like Top 10 Lists!

Posted by Simon Mills (Mills Realty) about 9 years ago

I wish the reblogg button was working.  This is a very good post.  Thanks for the update.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Great post! The handy one is probably most considered as a lot of homes are going for a great deal but need some work.

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) about 9 years ago

Hi Holly

 Great list of questions. The only thing I like to add to that is weather a garage or shop is important........Brad

Posted by Brad Hornshaw, Realtor, Listing Agent, Buyers Agent, Investments (Brad Hornshaw Realtor Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett) about 9 years ago

Great list - and there are so many things to be considered when buying a home!   Also garage, driveway, laundry in home or not, etc......     Fabulous list!!!

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) about 9 years ago

GREAT list, Holly.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen #6.  I try very hard to help buyers understand these things.  People get so excited that they can fail to see the larger picture!

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Madison & Co Properties (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) about 9 years ago

Holly - What a great list!   I would love to add it to my buyers information on my website if you are ok with it!  I will of course credit you. 

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) about 9 years ago

Holly - AWESOME LIST!  Worthy of a reblog....as soon as the system will let me  ;-(

I am constantly pushing #9 as families migrate to Florida with no basements.

My philosophy is - If I haven't used it in 6 months get rid of it...by the time I need it there will be a newer version!  Joy

Posted by Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team, Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise! (Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team) about 9 years ago


These are all great questions and not at their top of mind for sure most of the time.  It might be wise to also ask "What is the MOST important thing for you? Why?

Posted by Jayne Williamson, REALTOR, Broker, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Mountain Partners, Hendersonville, NC) about 9 years ago
Great list. During the excitement of buying a home, some of these issues get ignored. Then the home sweet home becomes the home nightmare home.
Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) about 9 years ago

great considerations, lots more to consider than number of bedrooms and number of baths!

Posted by MaryBeth Mills Muldowney, Massachusetts Broker Owner (TradeWinds Realty Group LLC) about 9 years ago

Great list!  People often don't think of these things!

Posted by Brenda, Ron, Lee Cunningham & Tara Keator, Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro (West USA Realty) about 9 years ago

Definitely a great list! I plan to tweet/facebook this out today!

Posted by SentriLock Blogger (SentriLock, LLC) about 9 years ago

It is best to consider these carefully before buying the home and regreting your purchase.

Posted by Dennis & Terri Neal, Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se (RE/MAX, Big Bear) about 9 years ago

Holly ~ you have compiled a fabulous list of things people should certainly think about before buying a home.  I am going to add this to my buyer presentation.

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) about 9 years ago

Good list. I would add "What school district do you want to be in?"

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 9 years ago

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Bob Sweazy (Prudential A. S. de Movellan Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

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