Am I in the market for a house? Not yet, but after watching enough HGTV shows, and seeing my brother jump into the fray, I have some notes to give to those who are looking for a place to live. You can take or leave this as you may, but this is a home buying survival guide of sorts… and those who do not heed my warnings will die homeless among the pages and pages of house ads on Zillow.
1. Know the verbiage… and be wary
Seeing homes is great, but more than likely you will see a bunch of them before you finally find one you like; and even then you might go for two dozen and still not find one. While touring these homes, your realtor will say words. These words will mean something to you. They will build a picture in your mind of rustic interior design, a DIY paradise, but know that what these warm words actually mean:
- Charming– Many an old house will be tied to this word. They usually haven’t touched since the Hoover administration and know that it means: Hope you don’t like weekends of doing nothing, because you’ll be renovating
- Easy– When this word is applied to a feature in the house you do not like, know it isn’t easy, know you cannot (and let’s be honest, will not) actually upgrade the master bathroom and it’s liberal use of pink… everywhere. Why? Because you bought this house at the top of your price range and it was charming! If you attempt DYI plumbing, you will wind up an actual shits creek as your toilet backs up into your hallway
- Open Floor plan– Okay, now this can be a good or bad thing.
- Good- If it’s a newer home and the builders added some elements of division in the architecture so the space feels nice without having walls.
- Bad- If previous owners saw an HGTV renovation show and went “Hey, we can knock down walls too” and now the first floor of the house looks more like a warehouse from the 1920’s; complete with Union scabs, just trying to eek out a living
2. Hope you like the lottery, and if you don’t, too damn bad
If you’re leaning toward newer construction, then get ready to put your name in the Harry Potter Sorting Hat and seeing where you and your loved ones are going to live; and these options include:
- The smallest house in the track
- The model home that the realtor’s office once occupied and probably held illicit affairs in due to some of them having very sad lives
- A cardboard box, because you were number 68 in line and there were 10 houses left in this phase of building and the realtor’s office didn’t care who showed up when and goes down the list numerically rather than who signed in first
If you think I am exaggerating, I am not, in California the housing marketing for new homes is nuts. My brother and his wife have gone through rounds of emotional hell that is “Hey, you like this? Too bad.”
And if you’re going for the used market, because that seems a bit more realistic than the new market and you find the home you love! Then get ready for:
- 16 bids being in on it already
- 14 of those bids are going to be from investment groups that will never see the house and possibly shit money and kick puppies
- The last 2 are from slobs like you who, hilariously enough, want to actually live in the house; and they are pre-approved. Are you pre-approved? No? Then why the hell are you even here!?
3. You got a house! Now you must make it a home
Congrats! You are now homeowners, and depending on what you got, hurrah/hurrah? No matter the condition of the home or wherever it resides, you now have three homes:
P.S. I love eating at Ikea.