When my husband and I bought our home a year and a half ago we were still just good ol’ boyfriend and girlfriend (I still call him “boyfriend”) and weren’t really looking to take on any huge projects yet. We looked at and momentarily considered a very (I mean VERY) large fixer upper but ultimately decided against it. He had a few more facts about our future than I did, he’d already bought the engagement ring, but for the sake of our relationship we didn’t think a home that needed a lot of love was right for us at the time.
One of the things that happens when you are looking at houses, especially in the spring when houses seem to fly out from under you, is overlook some items that if you lived there you’d be thinking “what the heck?” We did what I’d refer to as a “breezy look” at the home we purchased. A breezy look is where you walk through, look at the cosmetics of the house – paint colors, crown molding, counter tops – and don’t really pay much attention to things like how the overhead lighting works or how many outlets there are in a room. We actually spent more time in a house that we didn’t end up even writing an offer on than we did in the house we purchased. The home we ended up buying is a 1973 two story house that had some updates but still had room for improvements.
With only a breezy look through the home together and then only about 30 minutes in it during the inspection, upon moving in we found a few things that we wish we had noticed before buying the home. The first night we stayed in our home we realized that none of the bedrooms had overhead lights that connected to the light switches. Yep, that good old 70’s electrical wiring was still in place. All of our light switches controlled the power to an outlet, meaning we needed lamps in order to have any light come on when we flicked the switch. Rewiring the lighting in two of the four bedrooms was one of the first things we had done. It wasn’t that difficult, but did require us to have an electrician (we were able to use my father in law, thankfully) come in to make the adjustments. I always recommend using a licensed professional to do things like electrical work in your home.
Now, none of the things we’ve noticed since moving in are things that would have been deal breakers for us, we still love our home, but the first things we spent time doing weren’t what I would consider cosmetic updates. They were adding features to our home that we thought we already had! A kind word of advice to those looking in the busy buying season; if you’re considering making an offer on a home ask your Realtor® to take you back to the house so you can do more than a quick, breezy look. Don’t make snap decisions because you’re nervous someone might buy it out from under you or that you’ll annoy the seller if you ask to go by again. If a seller hears you’re considering making an offer and just want another look at the home they are likely morethan willing to be gone a few extra minutes so you can walk through another time. At the end of the day you’re buying a home you’ll likely have for five plus years, make sure it has what you want.