By Kyla Stelling
Now that the wedding is over, you and your spouse are ready for the next exciting milestone: home ownership. But there are so many factors you need to keep in mind and you want it to be a pleasant house hunting experience. The following are just a few things you should take into account when you’re in the market for a new home.
Marriage is a big transition and it may come with some adjustments to your lifestyle. Have a talk with your spouse and discuss your long-term goals, such as whether you want to start a family or move to a different location for job possibilities. You also should take into account the safety of the neighborhood, the school district in which you live and the amount of families that reside in the area. If you're thinking about having kids in the near future, having great public schools nearby is important. Check out Business Insider's lists 25 of the best school districts for several options to choose from, and consider moving to one of those areas.
Discuss what your expectations are for square footage and the general space you want within your home. Keep in mind the space you need for day-to-day activities, family gatherings and your future children. Create a list that helps you prioritize what kind of space is important to you as individuals and as a couple. For example, if you host a lot of parties, you may want to prioritize a large kitchen and living room. If one of you works from home or needs office space, put that on the top of your list.
Keep in mind that compromise is often necessary. Identify which spatial features are and aren’t deal-breakers. House Simple compares some of the things you may want to compromise on, such as the amount of space versus the location, and the fixable faults like ugly hardware or kitchen countertops.
Bed and Bath Layout
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home is another important factor you should discuss. Talk about whether or not you want your home to be able to lodge many bodies or if you would prefer to not have visitors. Just make sure you don't go over your budget because the number of rooms and bathrooms has a major influence on the asking price of the house. Decide if you really need that extra guest bedroom if it means sacrificing a large kitchen or the perfect location.
If you intend to add on an extra bedroom or bathroom in the future, check the county’s code and permit requirements and the potential cost of the addition. Home Advisor puts the cost of a total bathroom remodel at an average of $9,348. If this is less than what it would cost to buy a house with an extra bathroom, then it may be worth it to wait and build a bathroom that is to your exact specifications.
When you determine your budget for your home, make sure you include any ongoing expenses the home has. Utilities are a major cost that vary based on the sustainability and efficiency of your house. Consider the cost it may take to upgrade your heating and cooling system, major appliances, and windows and doors. It may cost more upfront but save you a lot of money in the future, so it's important to figure out what you can afford in the short and long term. You also should be aware of costs like homeowners association dues, structural update costs, property taxes, insurance and any other regional fees.
Look for a home that you can keep safe and sound with solid security features. Search for houses that have trees and tall shrubbery around the lot’s perimeter so they can block the street view of your home. This natural barrier is pleasant to look at and helps prevent burglars from scoping out or monitoring your home.
You also should protect your new valuable asset with a security camera system. Take note of houses you are looking at that have existing CAT5e or BNC security camera cabling. This can save you time and money on security camera installation. Even if your dream house doesn't have these wires already doesn't mean that you can't have this safety feature, though. Installing a full security camera system is not as complex as it once was and don't necessarily require professional installation. Once you know what you're looking for, you should choose a security camera system that has the security features you need to feel safe and protected night and day, such as HD resolution, long-range night vision, audio capabilities, or ultra-wide angle lenses.
Shopping for your first home as a newlywed couple should be a fun and memorable experience. Be sure to discuss your needs ahead of time, stick to your budget and enjoy the process.
Kyla Stelling is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she studied literature. She is the curator of the blog Seattle Street Style which focuses on fashion and design in Seattle where she lives. She has worked in L.A. doing costume design but has recently shifted her career focus to public relations. When she isn't working as a freelance writer, she is preparing herself delicious food or working on a DIY home improvement project.