Your first house: 6 things to look for!

Your first house: 6 things to look for!

Choosing in what house you want to live in for the next couple of years is a serious and hard decision. You want the perfect location, a lot of floor space, large windows and it has to look good as well, all for the right price. Here are some things you may want to look for when you are choosing a house, for both renters and buyers!

Costs

When you want to buy or rent your first house, it is pretty logical to take a look at the price of the house or the rent. You should however add some other costs as well, like the one-time costs of furniture, paint and possible renovations that need to be done. In addition, there are also some continuous costs. For instance, living alone is way more expensive than living with others, since you don’t need to clean less often, but now the costs of multi-purpose cleaner are all for you. You also need to take into account the costs of the internet, water, electricity and some taxes. It is therefore very important to make a detailed overview of the costs specified to your area and to your lifestyle, before you calculate how much you can buy or rent for.

Neighbourhood

What I learned from my latest move was the importance of researching the neighbourhood. Where I live, there are some well-known ‘good’ and ‘bad’ areas, but I still found it more difficult than follow those rules to find a good neighbourhood. For instance, I found this lovely little house and it seemed perfect and it was in a perfect area. However, when my realtor talked to the realtor of the house, we found out that the house behind this one was owned by a known scumbag. He put in some rooms for students, but it wasn’t safe and fires could easily break out. He also was known for getting into fights with neighbours, since he owns several houses in this city. Needless to say we didn’t buy that house. These are things you won’t always know, but it can help to ring the doorbell and talk to some of the neighbours of your future house before buying, just for a quick chat.

On the other hand, I now live in a ‘bad’ neighbourhood. If you walk about 3 streets further, there are a lot of people loitering and being sketchy, but in my street it’s actually fine! Since the road I live on is connected to the city centre, there is no problem at all and my neighbours are great! And in addition, the area is being upgraded. Old houses are being torn down and pretty condo’s are build in their place now. Within the one year I am living here, I can already see a huge difference. So if you see a nice house, but you’re not immediately sold on the neighbourhood, just go there and take a look. It might be better than you expected.

House nature city

Nature or the city?

I would consider myself more of a city girl. I am very extraverted, so I love having people around or near me at all times. The sounds of the city at night calm me more than silence would. So obviously, I wanted to live as close to the city centre as possible. However, I know some people really prefer nature and peace above the busy streets. In that case, a house on the outskirts of town or a village might be for you.

In general, studies have found that nature calms us down. This is, thanks to the pretty radical change of scenery it offers compared to the city. It also gives us less things to process and nature can fascinate us a lot. However, this level of relaxation is often stronger for people that usually don’t live in natural environments. That is why I love going to a park to hang out or taking a walk in a nearby forest in the weekends, instead of actually living there. I would say this is a great example of having the best of both worlds. I would thus recommend looking for nearby natural area’s as well when you’re looking for a place to live. Another idea is for instance to buy plants or buy a house with a garden to be near to nature.

Architectural depth

Another thing to look for when you are looking at the house is architectural depth. In a psychological study by Evans, Lepore and Schroeder (1996) was found that it’s easier to feel crowded when there is a lower architectural depth. Residential crowding can cause you to feel stressed, to withdrawal from others and to be less social. Therefore, you want to avoid this as much as possible. Architectural depth is the amount of rooms you can cross before going outside. For instance, when you come into the house and you want to go to your bedroom. If you need to go through the hallway and the living room to get there, the architectural depth is 2. The higher this number is, the less crowded you’ll generally feel. This is thus especially important when you’re going to live with other people. For instance if you’re living in a student house, you’d rather have a setup where you need to pass through the living room to get to your room, rather than a house that’s just one hallway with the rooms attached to it.

Specific area’s

To have architectural depth, you also need multiple rooms. Another benefit of having multiple rooms is that you can give each room a specific purpose. In the first two houses where I lived when I went to university, I had one room to live in. I would eat, study, socialise and Netflix all at the same desk. This caused me to be easily distracted when I needed to study. In addition, it was also harder for me to relax in my time off. At any given moment, my study books were right in front of me, just like the dirty dishes from breakfast and the vacuum cleaner that I really needed to fix. All these signals were distracting me all the time.

In my new house, my living room, dining room and kitchen are all in one space. My bedroom and bathroom are separate. This way, does ‘private’ areas are more out of sight, which I like. I also bought a Kallax from Ikea with 3 compartments horizontally and 4 vertically. I put it as a room divider with a work station behind it. This way, I can feel like I’m in another area of the house when I need to work at home. This also helps a lot with concentration and dividing work and home.

Hallway house architectural depth

Storage space

Something I used to overlook was the amount of space to store my stuff (or walls where I could put a closet). Combined with a love for open closets or display cabinets, this led to a very cluttered home. When I was searching for a new house, I made sure there was enough place to put my stuff. This was especially important in the kitchen and my bedroom, since I store most of my stuff there. I also bought 2 cabinets with closed doors, so you can’t see all the stuff in there. This helped a lot with keeping it clean and organised.

I hope you have found this post helpful when you are looking for a new home. It is a big decision, so make sure you know what you want and need from a house before buying/renting it! If you like, please leave a comment on the biggest things you looked for when buying a house or mistakes you’ve made that can prevent others from making the same one!

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Lots of love,

Lisa

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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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34 Comments on “Your first house: 6 things to look for!

  1. Great post! I will definitely start thinking about this soon when I get looking for my own home. I only live in a small flat at the moment and I totally know what you mean about the storage. I definitely need to make sure wherever I choose has a lot of storage space haha.

    Chloe xx

  2. These are all great tips, girl! I think it’s so important to research the neighborhood before purchasing! Back when I lived in NYC, I used to live in a bad neighborhood, so now it’s my #1 priority to look out for bad neighborhoods. Thanks for sharing this post!

    Much love always,
    GABBY | http://www.gabbyabigaill.com

  3. I completely agree with everything you mentioned here, I just recently moved into a new flat and it is the best thing! Thank you for sharing!

    Amber

  4. Great tips, a really helpful post! I’m actually looking to buy my new place next year. Storage space is so important to me, I live in a one bedroom flat currently and I can’t deal with the amount of stuff I have compared to the storage! Becca x

  5. This was such a helpful post !
    I’m definitely excited for my first move into my own space and neighborhood is such an important one, I feel !

  6. I am so excited to one day move out – but there are so many things to consider! Thank you for bringing these ideas to my attention. I think I need to sit down and have more of a think before I rush into buying a house!

    Em | http://www.loveemblog.com

  7. Very insightful. I recently bought a house for installment and one of the reasons why we picked it is because it’s in the city and safe area. Would definitely look into other points you mentioned here. Thank you!

  8. Yes absolutely!! Neighborhood is most definitely important when choosing a home! When my husband and I moved and started to look at homes, everyone started to suggest we look into the neighborhood we live in now and wow we’re they right!

  9. I agree with the points above especially with storage spaces, they are very essential to lessen clutters and of course to be more organized. Another thing I want to add is a house with a good lighting preferably natural light going in and well ventilated. It’s good to live in a house that makes you happy and feel tranquility.

  10. Very good points. They say the most important thing is location but I would definitely add storage space to that!

  11. Great tips! I’ve actually been starting looking for my first home lately (only online right now to get a sense of what I want) and these are all really important things to look out for!

  12. I can agree with all of these! One thing I feel our current house is lacking is storage space but I’m doing my best to figure out storage hacks. I love our neighbourhood and we’ve found a perfect balance between town and countryside. Great post!

  13. This post is super helpful! My boyfriend and I are talking about moving out soon, so this has been an interesting read. Talking to the neighbours is a great idea to get a feel for the area and at least you know if you have friendly neighbours or not too xx

    Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/

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