house shopping

Common Design Flaws to Look Out for While House Hunting

house shopping
Previously, we discussed some important factors to consider when choosing a home. One suggestion was to decide how much work you want to put into your newly-purchased house. Wallpaper and carpeting are relatively easy and inexpensive to change. Remodeling the kitchen or adding another room can be fairly expensive “projects”. If you find yourself torn between two homes, try to determine how much work each one needs.  This can help you make the best decision.

Still, there are some features that are difficult or practically impossible to change.  Being incompatible with your lifestyle means impeding your ability to enjoy a home.  For this reason, try to look out for these potentially serious problems:

The House is Too Big

It’s common for prospective homeowners to look at, and purchase, houses that are bigger than they actually need. So before you fall for that suburban Tudor, with two extra bedrooms and enough bathrooms to hide from your family, please consider that:

  • Large houses require more energy (more cost!) to heat and cool, especially during winter and summer. This problem is further compounded with a two-story home. Remember, hot air rises and cold air sinks, so keeping both floors at a comfortable temperature can be tricky!
  • More room inside your house means more room for dust and clutter to accumulate. It can also mean more windows and carpets to get dirty. A large home means more time cleaning and maintaining.
  • Large homes usually carry a larger price tag than their more petite “cousins.” Even with your VA Loan’s lower-than-average interest rate and no mandatory down payment, your monthly mortgage payments will probably still be quite high. Larger homes can also be more difficult to sell. These days, more and more people are seeking smaller houses in order to reduce their living expenses and their carbon footprint!

Is it always a bad decision to purchase a large house? No, of course not. But it’s wise to remember that bigger isn’t always better!

Not Enough Storage Space

If you ever feel like your home just doesn’t have enough space to store all of your belongings, personal effects, and knick-knacks, you’re definitely not alone. Some of us could probably move into a mansion and still complain that we have nowhere to put our stuff! In many cases, the solution is to simply get organized. Clever shelving, a few under-the-bed bins, and some creativity can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping spaces neat and necessities accessible. It is entirely possible, though, to buy a house with too little storage space, or storage space that’s not very useful.

Consequently,  it’s good to peek inside cupboards and closets while you’re house hunting. The idea is to think about whether or not these spaces will be practical for you to use. For example, if you love cooking and have a healthy stockpile of dry goods, you might be more comfortable with a walk-in pantry with plenty of shelves and good lighting. If you have children who will share a room, they might need their closet to have double-doors so they can both access clothing at the same time. Finally, it’s good to think about where you will store bedding, towels, and cold-weather gear. Depending on your needs, a small linen closet might not be big enough. These examples are useful to consider; utility is key!

Safety Hazards for Young (or Not-So-Young) Family Members

Home fixtures like elaborate staircases, decorative glass walls, and second-story balconies can be beautiful to look at, but they may not be practical for day-to-day living.  For those of us who have very young or elderly family members at home, these features can be downright dangerous. It’s distressingly easy, after all, for a toddler to squeeze through the bars of a balcony, a grandparent to stumble while navigating a spiral staircase, or an active child to accidentally run face-first into a glass wall. Baby gates, safety railings, and other methods of child-proofing remove some of the risk, but it’s often better to avoid these features entirely.

Likewise, when considering whether a house’s design is truly “safe,” it’s a good idea to think about the future. Are you planning to start a family in the next few years? Do you or your spouse have an elderly or infirm family member that may need to live with you? Maybe you yourself are getting on in your years and plan for your new house to be your retirement home. A little strategy can help you select a safe and comfortable home to enjoy in for years to come!

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, “flaws” are in the eye of the beholder. Depending on your lifestyle (and expectations for the next few years), these three problems could be minor inconveniences or total deal-breakers. Only you can decide the kind of qualities and characteristics a house must have to be your “dream home.” Regardless of what your dream home looks like, a mortgage from VA Lending Group can help you obtain it!


Photo courtesy of Alessandra Bess on FreeImages