5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a House

purchasing a house

It is so easy to purchase a house simply based on appearance. Beautiful curb appeal and a modern chef’s kitchen seem to open a lot of wallets. People fall in love with the paint colors, the open concept, the granite counter tops, the stainless steel appliances, and they instantly picture themselves preparing a family dinner or having friends over for a cocktail party. At that exact moment it is important to stop and remember that appearances can be deceiving. Before you start signing your life away you need to dig deeper to determine if this house is really the house for you.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a House

Interior and Exterior

It doesn’t matter if the house you are looking at is 100 years old or 2 months old, you still need to inspect things closely.

And even if you hire a home inspector to go through the house, there are certain questions that you want to ask the inspector. If you ask the inspector these questions and you do not get decent answers, then do not hesitate to call professional trades to scope out the situation for you. Remember that this is probably one of the biggest purchases of your life and the last thing you need is to buy a property that is full of hidden, yet costly issues.

Ask the inspector:

  • how old the roof is and if there are any signs of water leaks
  • how old is the hot water tank, and the furnace, and how soon will they need to be replaced
  • how old is the wiring
  • how old is the plumbing

If it is an older house ask the inspector if it looks like it has been renovated, and if so, was the job done right.

Another important point around recent renovations is whether or not the proper permits were issued for the work. While the home inspector will not be able to help you with that, the city office that issues permits will be able to help you.


Before you purchase a new house consider your personal requirements when it comes to location. Do you prefer something close to downtown, or something out in the country? Does a quiet residential neighbourhood appeal to you?

Resale Value

Even if you think this is your “forever home” chances are very good that it is not. As much as we like to predict the future and think that once we find our dream home we will live there until we die, it probably won’t work out that way. Life changes very quickly, and quite often people only live in the same home for a max of 5 to 10 years. With that in mind it is important to consider what the resale value of your next house will be in 5 to 10 years. Will the value increase nicely because the neighbourhood is popular and well kept up? Is it in a popular location, or a scary, rundown location?


Before you buy that next house you need to do some calculations to figure out if you can truly afford it and still have money left over for other things in your life.

Figure out what how much of a down payment you have. How much are the property taxes on that house? What will utilities and insurance cost you? If it is a townhouse that you are considering, what are the monthly condo fees? On some buildings the condo fees are as high as a mortgage payment.

Once you have all of those numbers in front of you, you can use this home loan repayment calculator to figure out whether or not you can afford to purchase this house that you have fallen in love with.

Your Wish List

Even before you begin visiting houses that are up for sale you should create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? Do you need an attached garage? A backyard? How large of a house do you want?

So many couples walk into large houses and get all excited by all of the space. But think about it – who is going to wash all those floors after you move in, and vacuum all of those bedrooms, and clean all of those showers?

Before purchasing a house really take some time to consider what living there will be like. While a huge house and a large backyard may look extremely nice, a house that size comes with a lot of maintenance and additional expenses. Instead of being able to enjoy your weekends after a long week at work, you will be mowing the lawn and cleaning the house. Or you will be paying someone else to do it for you. Either way it will cost you.


    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 10/22/2013 6:55 a.m. #

      Great points, Sicorra. Even a small backyard can be a TON of upkeep. I have spent hours on my backyard and it seems like I'm getting nowhere. My friend and I are actually going to take a few days off work to do a ton of work (retaining wall, finishing the fence, regrading the lawn, etc.) and that's a big sacrifice of time and PTO. I think asking your inspector as many questions as possible is key. I wish ours had checked the bath tub overflow. It ended up costing us about $400-$500 to replace everything once we found out it leaked.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:34 p.m. #

        Thanks DC! While home ownership has it's advantages, it certainly comes with a price of both time and money. Our last house was in a brand new subdivision and it felt like it took forever to build the fence and landscape too, and even though we did a lot of the labor, like you are, products were still expensive.

    • masnr9@gmail.com

      masnr9@gmail.com 10/22/2013 8:42 a.m. #

      These are all great things to consider when buying a house. Definitely make sure to have a good home inspector. So many people skip that step and it hurts them in the end.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:35 p.m. #

        Yes, I believe a good home inspector is valuable

    • Edgar @ Degrees and Debt

      Edgar @ Degrees and Debt 10/22/2013 8:46 a.m. #

      Always consider who you have representing you as well. I am a Realtor and I have seen some first time home buyers became very upset mid transaction due to the inexperience of their agent or lawyer. It's important to work with some of the best to ensure you get the best.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:37 p.m. #

        Very good point Edgar! Thank you! It is so important to hire the right person. It alleviates a lot of the stress, esp if you end up with problems during the process.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 10/22/2013 8:55 a.m. #

      I wish I'd had this list when we bought our first house. We didn't think to ask these questions and took the inspectors word for it. Thankfully we got lucky but we could have been snowed, you know?

      This is a very important post with great advice because a house is probably the biggest investment/expense we'll incur. We have to look beyond the paint and kitchen's accessories...

      Thanks for putting these tips together!

      Have a great Tuesday friend!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:41 p.m. #

        Thanks Corina!
        Good for you guys for not having any issues. I am glad it all worked out well with no worries.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 10/22/2013 10:41 a.m. #

      Great list, Sicorra. Buying a home is a significant investment and something that shouldn't be rushed. Finding a good home inspector and having a list of questions for him or her is really important. As you said, appearances can be deceiving. Even beautiful homes can be lemons, sadly. The biggest mistake I most frequently come across is people buy more home than they can TRULY afford. The bank may have been willing to lend you the money but the mortgage payments eat up so much of your income that you have little extra money to do anything else you want.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:44 p.m. #

        Thanks Shannon!
        I know what you mean. Quite often people get excited when the bank shows them this huge number and they fall for it without really considering all of their other expenses. They trust the bank or the mortgage broker too much and then end up in trouble down the road. Always good to do calculations before you speak to someone and spend less instead of more.

    • Corinne

      Corinne 10/22/2013 4:38 p.m. #

      Love this post Sicorra! We are actually looking for a new home, so this came at the perfect time. We are finding it a bit difficult to find everything on our wish list AND keep the costs down, but we'll keep looking. I agree this may not be our forever home, but with 2 kids (one boy, one girl) I don't want to settle for a small 2-bedroom just in case we stick with it into their teen "need more privacy" years

      Have a great week!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:46 p.m. #

        Thanks very much Corinne!

        I think it is important to keep looking. So many people rush and then settle into something that either costs too much or isn't really suiting their needs. Take your time and get what you need for the right price. It is a lot less stressful that way.

        Have a great week and best of luck with your new house searching.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 10/22/2013 5:20 p.m. #

      Great list! I think the number one item is can you afford it?

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/22/2013 7:48 p.m. #

        Thanks! Yes affordability is one point, but there is so much more to consider.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 10/25/2013 6:30 a.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra! I would also add to call the county tax valuation department if you have any questions about the home too. Having inspected most homes on a pretty recent timeline, they can be very helpful in answering questions you might have about why the tax value is set at what it is, whether or not they think the current sale price is accurate and fair, etc.

    • Drake Dylan

      Drake Dylan 10/28/2013 11:18 p.m. #

      Resale value and affordability is a must. Well said. I had problems with resale value before after a purchased from a private house sales. I didn't know that the resale value was totally lower than the amount that I paid. This is very important.

    • Michelle Panes

      Michelle Panes 12/17/2013 3:53 p.m. #

      I'm already looking at my wish list and I'm looking at some of the properties for sale in Boise. I hope that I can easily buy the property that I want from my wish list. Thank you for sharing these tips by the way.

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