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Home Viewing Advice: Tips For Finding Your Dream Home

Develop a “Dream Home List.”

My husband and I had developed a list of characteristics to help find our future home when we first started house hunting.  We defined “must” haves and “want” to haves.  The list included everything from price range, to age of home, to location, to basic floor plan.  We each wrote our own list, without consulting the other, and then combined lists to come up with the Master Dream Home List.

House hunting once you have defined your list goes a little something like this: tri level (great condition), tri level (terrible condition,) tri level with extra bedroom.  In other words, we looked at the “same” house over and over again; with minor differences, like location of a bathroom.

Take a look at some “curve balls.”

Our “curve ball” was completely different from every house we had seen.  It was by far the most charming home, with the most character.  It was quite a bit older than all the others.  My husband fell in love with it.  I was terrified of it.  Character and charm are the reason that I have lived without a dish washer for the last 5 years.  I’m over character and charm.  I’m a mom now.  In other words, I want the minivan of homes.

But, this house had hardwood floors… everywhere.  The closest thing to hard wood we had seen so far was Pergo.  It had this beautiful molding with a fancy name that I can’t remember.  It also had an incredible backyard that looked like the Secret Garden.  The trouble is, where he saw beauty I saw work.  Where he saw room for our family to grow, I saw money that we don’t have.  Yes, it was the money pit.

When house hunting reveals that you and your loved one are from  different planets…Go back to your List.

Dinner conversation became stressful after we saw that house.  “Let’s talk about the house!” We’d both say, each of us thinking “Oh good, I’m glad you’ve come around.”

Then, we’d look at each other.  Blink in disbelief.  “How can you not love this house?” (him) , “How can you still love it???” (me).  It was sad too, because I could tell he really loved it, in a way that he hadn’t loved any of the others.  Of course I wanted him to have his dream home.  It’s just, I thought we had the same dream home in mind, and suddenly we’re from a different planet.

To be fair, this home did have many of the things we wanted on our list… it was just a different interpretation than we had seen before.   On the other hand, this home also threw a good part of our list out the window.

Be prepared to make changes to your list as you learn more about homes.

For example, one thing on our list was “a reasonable commute to work.”   25 minutes without traffic is not reasonable when you have seen a home that has a 5 minute commute, with traffic.  Before the curve ball, we didn’t realize how great it would be to be closer to his work.

I also didn’t realize how much the good school and safe location mattered to me until the home he loved had a bad school and a scary location (I’m a sissy).

So our list evolved, and we made compromises.   (Ah, marriage.)   10 minute commute, older house, a touch of charm, and incredibly practical. The new, improved list directed us to the perfect home, in a location we had completely blown off before because the houses were “too old”.

Learn what really matters to you by taking a look “outside the box” of your Dream Home List.

We uncovered and defined the elements of a home that were really important to each of us by viewing a curve ball house.   We didn’t know before because all of the other homes had been the same with only moderate differences.  Sometimes it takes the extreme to realize what really matters.