Saturday, February 11, 2023

House search update: Must have list and trade offs - Will this be our house?

We are becoming quite good at analyzing online listings of houses for sale. We also have really reduced our must have list and discuss daily what the items on the list really mean plus what we are willing to truly not have that is on our “I really want …” list. It is interesting to get to the “I won’t buy a house without that” point when available houses in your target location, minimum size and maximum price range are few and the market is very competitive.

At this point when a new listing comes up that might work with our list, we:

* read everything posted, 

* check several real estate sites to see estimated sale prices as they all sell for a lot over the listed price, 

* examine the photos very carefully & look at the map to see how close it is to our son and to noisy things (metro, freeway, noisy businesses or roads), and at the street view and satellite images to see the neighborhood.

 If we think it might work we then either ask our realtor for the endless pages of disclosure and inspection documents (inspections are done by the seller in that market) or we ask our son to check out the neighborhood/street and do a walk through during an open house. Lastly we decide if my husband will fly up to see the property during the typical 10 day window from listing to offers accepted date. Did I say the market is competitive?!!!

So far he has only gone to look at one property which we decided not to make an offer on. Thursday one came on the market that sounded good but the photos weren’t up before the first open house on Friday. Our son went and checked it out and, if the inspection report doesn’t have any deal breaker issues, Hubby will fly up early next week to see it. 

It is interesting not only for meeting our short must have list items but because it was just updated including furnace, roof, etc. so an older parent could move in but then that didn’t happen. That explains why it is being sold furnished too although furnishing are minimal and not an obstacle  for us. Not the cabinet or other colors I prefer but that has moved to the wants list as long as we both can live with it.

You may think that is being picky as it is just paint, but there was a house Hubby liked in a neighborhood we both would love to live in but everything from the exterior to kitchen cabinets to walls were various shades of cool blues except for the kitchen tile backsplash which was bright yellow. Those are colors I can’t even wear without looking ill. I didn’t feel like I could live in it and it was so themed that it would be hard to change without spending a lot. There were other issues too but the color was my dealbreaker.

So what is on our much shortened must have list? Mostly things related to aging in place that would be hard to change but also location.

* A low barrier entry to the house

* bedroom(s) and bath on the main floor or stairs that could easily accommodate a chair lift, 

* laundry hookups accessible from the main living space, or bedrooms if they are upstairs (many houses require steep basement stairs or going outside to another space), 

* yard that is fenced or can be with access from house main area,

* a neighborhood where you could go for a walk preferably without steep hills,

* no noise from metro etc. heard in house, 

* sufficient space and a layout for us to live happily on a daily basis. 

We have also narrowed the areas we will consider. The new listing is 3 miles from our son’s and further from stores and other things that we prefer, but that is looking like a trade off we have to make. Right now we are ok with driving, Uber is ubiquitous in that area, and our son or DIL could easily drop things off for us if needed and vice versa. Fingers crossed!


  1. House hunting between states has got to be scary. At least your son is helping. The people who bought my house sight unseen except online where happy with it. You're doing your homework and that will pay off.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. We are in suburban S. Cal and looking in the Berkeley area where the market is much hotter and there is a housing shortage so that makes it challenging. At least we are pretty familiar now with the area around where our son lives so we can tell a lot from online before investing his or our time in further visits. Then there are the bidding wars if we do make an offer lol.

  2. It is interesting to read about your house hunting. We haven't done it in 29 years. Sheesh... But we will be looking for similar things -- nearness to our adult children, accomodations like no stairs and laundry on an accessible level. Good luck, though -- it isn't fun trying to buy in an expensive area. Last time we did it, we were moving into a less expensive area, and that made it rather more pleasant.

    1. I agree - moving into a same cost or less expensive area with a less hot market is more fun and easier! Our last two moves were like that.

  3. Did your husband head out today to look at this house? Sounds like a potential home!! Like the fact that it has a new furnace. Would love to see photos. While I detest moving, I am a noisy Nora and really enjoy looking at house!! Keep us posted.


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