The Realty Geek's Blog

Watch for Pleasant Surprises and Details When Buying a House

I don’t know if there’s an official survey out there, but I can tell you from experience that water heaters wait until the new homeowner moves in to fall apart. This is why home warranties are such a good idea.

What about pleasant surprises? We don’t hear much about those. Jana M. moved into her Wisconsin home during a bleak late winter. When spring rolled around, her new yard came to life. The showstopper occurred in mid-summer when at least 30 Stargazer lilies burst into bloom along the back wall in the garden. She had no idea the bulbs were snug underground when she bought the house, and it was, most definitely, a pleasant surprise.

For some people, living in the home on a day-to-day basis brings on little surprises, such as the extra storage space you missed while touring the house or the way the living area flows just right.

While you house hunt, think about some of the little things that would be pleasantly surprising after you move in and put some of them on your “must-have” list.

Interior Design and Home Buying

One of the biggest surprises when buying a house is walking into a home that looks drab and uninteresting on the outside, only to find that the inside is a wonderful example of tasteful interior design. While some elements of the interior - such as furniture and window treatments - may not be included in the sale, you may find structural design elements of the house that you like.

Of course, what qualifies as good interior design depends largely on your personal needs, interests and taste.

The Importance of Closet Design and Extra Space

Storage space is a big consideration for many people. There’s an old joke that people "expand to fit" their surroundings, gathering and storing possessions as the years pass. Sure, good closet design isn’t as impressive as a whirlpool bath when you’re viewing a home, but over the long run it’s probably more essential. A walk-in closet or extra space for storage is almost always an advantage when buying a house.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

It’s well known in real estate circles that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. An outdated kitchen or a cramped, dingy bathroom can easily break a deal. Maybe you don’t need a heated towel rack or a steam shower system, but if you’re like most Americans, you don’t want a dinky bathroom. Lots of space is the name of the game for today’s homebuyers. So pay close attention to the bathroom in any home you’re considering purchasing. Look for the details that will turn out to be pleasant surprises when you move in.

The kitchen, for many people, is much more than a place to prepare food – it’s also a gathering place for family and friends, so an open, comfortable kitchen is a big plus in a home’s favor. Americans have specific “wants” in their new kitchen and one of the most popular is a pantry, according to the Metropolitan Builders Association. Over 80 percent of people polled stated that a walk-in pantry is a must-have, with built-in microwaves and light-colored cabinetry coming in not far behind.

Keeping Home Buying Surprises in Context

Pleasant surprises can be the difference between buying a home and continuing to house hunt, but do remember to keep them in perspective. No matter how nice a home’s interior design, how lush its garden or how much extra space it has for storage, if the house itself isn’t structurally sound, it isn’t worth buying. It’s important to take care of the basics of home buying before looking at a home’s little extras. On the other hand, a well built home with extra closet space? Now that’s a nice surprise when buying a house!

Comment balloon 1 commentEric Proulx • January 31 2012 07:35PM


Eric: Very nice post--very encouraging as well! I can't tell you the number of times I hear just the opposite--this post gives me an idea that if I can convince my buyers to look at the attributes of a home and how they fit with the individual needs of the buyer--well, now that is making it happen...too many times a buyer does not get the benefit of fully understanding those attributes--and then it is too late. What is coming to mind right now as I read this post is the house I just previewed for my buyer--she will make a special trip out from the city just to see this one house---(she has been looking for 2 years for just the right house and in my opinion this is the house for her) So, my approach is going to be to pinpoint, in bullet format, the Meile appliances, the polished nickel trimmed lighting fixtures in the kitchen, the deep soaking tubs in the childrens baths, the hand waxed wide plank floors, the Ceasarstone countertops and vanities, and the fine finish on the antique banister in the fully restored and renovated 1930's colonial. Suggested!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 7 years ago