5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Home

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, home prices are falling in the Seattle area and, for the first time in four years, the average home is now selling for below list price. This is great news for those looking to buy a home who were hoping to avoid bidding wars the would drive a home out of their budget.

You may have questions about how to find the right property with the potential to become your dream home. As you might have guessed, there are many things to consider in any home purchase but if you have some knowledge of what to look for then the process will feel a lot more fun!

Below are 5 things to consider from an architecture and design point of view while you are out touring available properties:

See beyond the surface

Once you have a clear picture of the type of home you are looking for given your lifestyle and future goals, it will be easier for you to look beyond a bad paint color and see the bones of the house. Hot pink walls aren’t forever but a poorly laid out floorplan will have limitations.

Getting started on the right foot(ing)

Often, the home you love won’t have absolutely everything you want and before you make a commitment to purchase, your first questions are likely to surround your options to renovate. If adding a second story is in your dream plan, you will want to understand the structure of the foundation.

If the foundation was not built with any footings, that equals more structural work. Unless you absolutely love the home and have additional budget, you may want to move on to a property more suited to handling additional stories without added work to the foundation. Also, watch out for any cracks in the foundation, particularly big ones as this could be a sign of larger issues such as soil problems.

Renovations don’t happen overnight

Keep in mind that remodeling or building an addition to a home takes time. If you absolutely cannot live in the home during this period and you don’t have another option in the meantime, then another property may suit you better. You can consult an architect to get the best timeline for permitting, design and construction to help in making your final purchasing decision.

Water will always flow downhill

Take a look at the overall property and where the home sits. It is at the bottom of a hill or does any part of the site slope towards the home? At this time of year, if you happen to have the opportunity to witness the home in the rain, take note of where the water flows. Ideally it will flow away from the home. If not, you may need to consider additional cost for site work to keep the water out. Make sure to check the inside for any evidence of water damage.

Environmental awareness

Look at Seattle Parcel Data to determine if your property is on an Environmentally Critical Area (ECA). ECA’s can indicate significant permitting problems, resulting in more expensive construction. For instance, if you are on a steep slope, your soil may be less stable than a flat site. This could cause your project to require more structural upgrades to account for your additional weight.  Some other ECA’s are much simpler and don’t affect the structure but could affect your timeline. For example, a Heron or Eagle habitat generally comes with specific times of year that you can build.

Want additional piece of mind? We are always available to help!

Finding the right home can feel daunting but with an Architect and Interior Designer on your side you can find and create the perfect space that will work best for your lifestyle and make the process seamless and fun. Every property has its own special conditions and our team can determine what may be built on a property and flag any potential hurdles with the house before you invest any time and money.

From a property walk through with you and your agent to analysis, research, space planning and assistance with upsizing or downsizing, we can tailor services that fits your lifestyle, needs and budget. Schedule a consultation with us to discuss how we can help you envision your life in your perfect new home!

images courtesy Atelier Drome