In the first of our six-part series, we followed first time homeowner Chelsea Lipford as she goes through the process of finding and buying a house to call her own.
Finding a House
The quest for a home begins by finding the house of your dreams. There are a number of ways to locate houses that are for sale, including:
- Newspaper classified ads.
- Realty company listings and fliers.
- Online Realty websites and multiple listing sites.
- Driving around neighborhoods of interest.
- Engaging a Realtor to help in the search.
- Word of mouth from friends and family.
When looking for a house, it’s important to consider:
- Location of the house.
- Condition of other houses in the neighborhood.
- Whether the asking price is in your price range.
- Condition of the house and outbuildings.
- Safety concerns and crime in the neighborhood.
- Lot size and condition of the landscaping and lawn.
Watch video on House Hunting for the First Time Homeowner.
Once you find a house you’re interested in, examine it carefully, both inside and out – including the attic, basement, and crawlspace – for problems such as:
- Settling or foundation cracks.
- Cracks in the walls or ceilings.
- Out of square doorways or doors that won’t close.
- Wood floor that are buckled or cupped.
- Cracked or loose floor tiles.
- Condition of the roof and gutters.
- Plumbing leaks or slow running drains.
- Age and condition of the heating and cooling system.
- Electrical system, including the wiring and circuit breaker box.
- Rot or mold on siding, eaves, attic, or under house.
- Peeling paint on the siding or interior walls and trim.
- Condition of the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Excess moisture or standing water in the yard or under the house.
- Condition of the septic tank, if the house is on one.
- Amount and condition of attic insulation.
- Condition of the windows and doors.
- Condition of outbuildings, such as garage or storage building.
- Presence of asbestos in siding, flooring, or insulation.
- Presence of lead paint both inside and outside of the house.
- Presence of rodents, fleas, or other animal pests.
- Presence of termites in or under the house.
- Availability of affordable homeowners’ insurance for the house.
In addition to conducting a thorough examination yourself, it’s important to hire a reputable home inspector to go over the house from top to bottom before purchasing.
Read article on Importance of a Home Inspection When Buying a House.
First Time Homeowner House
The 1940 cottage that first time homeowner Chelsea Lipford purchased had only one owner over the years. The two bedroom, one bath home is just under 1,000 square feet in size.
While in fair condition the house was in need of substantial renovation and modernization, including the kitchen, bathroom, deck, siding, roof, walls, floor, and landscaping.
Watch video of Before Tour of the First Time Homeowner House.
First Time Homeowner House Remodel
Once the house had closed, Jodi Marks, the Best New Products host on Today’s Homeowner, and Chelsea went to The Home Depot to buy materials for the renovation work ahead.
Preliminary work that was preformed prior to moving in included:
- Removal of the burglar bars on the windows.
- Dismantling the bathroom cabinet.
- Patching cracks in the plaster walls.
- Removing the carpet covering the hardwood floors.
- Leveling the foundation on the house.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Moving Tips for Boxes
When packing boxes for moving, mark all of the boxes that go in a particular room with the same color tape. Then when you arrive at your new house, put a piece of the colored tape on the door to the room, so the movers will know where the boxes for each room go. To keep from damaging items when opening boxes, set your utility knife with only 1/8” of the blade protruding. (Watch This Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Rust-Oleum Universal Spray Paint
Advanced formula Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint adheres to a wide range of surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, and masonry. It comes in various colors and different finishes, including gloss, satin, flat, hammered, and metallic. Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Tackling DIY Projects
When deciding whether to tackle a home improvement or repair project yourself, consider your skill level and how much time you have to commit to the project. Common do-it-yourself projects include painting, installing DIY-friendly flooring (such as laminate), and demolition work. Projects involving plumbing and wiring, however, are often best left to the professionals. (Watch This Video)