Tag Archives: housing

Who doesn’t get stressed when they’re looking for a new home? Unfortunately, the stress and emotions that build-up when you’re buying a new home can also lead to some unalterable mistakes.

Here’s a review of some of the most common pitfalls and advice on how you can avoid them all.

Wasting your Time

If you’ve drawn up an interest list of 89 houses in the area you wish to move to, don’t even think about going to view every one of them. This will just be a huge waste of your time. The Internet is a great time saver when you’re house hunting as all realtors have websites these days. There you will find up to date listings with prices and full details of the property.

You will also be able to look at a photo gallery of the interior and exterior of each house. Some properties will even allow a virtual video tour.

This is a great place to begin the search for your dream home because you can eliminate your least favorite properties without ever having to visit them. You can avoid this mistake and save time by visiting www.STLRealEstatellc.com and starting your house hunting online.

Going Beyond your Budget

Calculate your budget and stick to it, no matter how much more appealing those slightly more expensive homes look. If you end up buying a house that’s beyond your budget, you could end up wrecking your finances down the road and losing your home in the process.

Don’t let the real estate agent talk you into moving up to the next level. You have to have some leeway so you can be prepared for future changes in your finances and the demands on them. 

Not Planning Adequately for a Showing

Many house hunters make the mistake of scheduling too many views within a short period of time. Allow yourself plenty of time to tour each house and traveling time between viewings. Eat before you go, so you don’t get distracted by hunger pains. Wear comfortable shoes because you’re going be on your feet for a long time.

Don’t take the children. If you can’t leave them with a family member, hire a babysitter. You don’t want to have to deal with a cranky toddler when you’re house hunting.

Not Looking at Everything

Don’t be afraid to examine every nook and cranny. Some people walk through without paying full attention. This is a big mistake. Open every cabinet, closet and drawer. Look behind doors, open every nook and cranny. Don’t risk missing a thing. Look for damp spots, mold, leaks in ceilings and on tile floors. Check attic ventilation.

Have an inspector check plumbing and electric systems in case the previous homeowners have made amateur repairs that are not up to code. Take a walk around the outside of the house and check that there is no water pooling in the yard around the house, garage and any other buildings. If there is, this is a sign of inadequate drainage.

Overlooking Certain Faults

So you’ve found a house that you’re starting to fall in love with, but it has a few issues. Depending on what these are, they could be costly or even impossible to fix. Don’t ignore them. If you’re really not sure about the condition of the house, have it inspected.

If it fails to make the grade, walk away. Be patient. There are large amounts of property listings available in your area and more being added every day. Don’t make the mistake of going for the first house you like if it’s not up to par.

Dragging your Feet

When you’ve finally made a decision on a house you truly want to live in, don’t take too long to seal the deal, or you might just lose it. If this happens you’ll be back to square one and you’ll have to spend even more time searching for another house.

Buying a new home is a big and important decision and one that should be well thought out and carefully executed, but if you’re committed, you have to be prepared for the moment to take the plunge.

Just by following these simple tips you can avoid some of the worst mistakes that many home buyers make. This will save you time and money and significantly reduce the stress factor of hunting for a new home.

Archie Coles works as a real estate agent and shares his home-buying, and selling, tips around the net.


first apartmentWhen I got ready to rent my first apartment with my then-fiance, I had absolutely no idea what to expect or what to look for in a first apartment. Things with the first apartment turned out fairly well, which is surprising considering my lack of knowledge and the disaster that was going on in my personal life as I got married and then divorced in less than a year while still living in that first apartment.

Despite all that, or maybe because of it, I learned a lot about life, love, and apartment hunting that year and I was able to do much better when I got ready to pick out my next apartment at the end of my lease.

Here are a few things I learned the hard way, but you should know before you go hunting for your first apartment.

Your Realistic Budget and The Market

When my fiance and I started looking for our first apartment, we had a budget of $600/month in mind for a 1-2 bedroom apartment. (Where we came up with that I have no idea as neither of us actually had a written monthly budget.) After viewing nearly 30 properties and making calls all over town, we realized that this was definitely on the low end for an apartment in our college town.

Luckily, after looking for a few weeks we were able to find an apartment with utilities included for $620/month.

If I could do this over again, I would have a better idea of what I could reasonably afford because I would have a written monthly budget for all of my money, much like I do now. I would also do some research to find out what the going-rate for apartments is in the community.

Check Up on Property Management Company

The property management company I ended up renting that first apartment from was a nightmare to deal with. They managed a lot of property in the town and it was clear that they had more than they could adequately manage. When I moved in I was told the apartment had already been cleaned, and yet it was disgusting! I ended up cleaning it myself and then when I left at the end of the lease I cleaned it very well and still had to forfeit most of my deposit as it wasn't up to their "standards." ...continue reading


We have lived in our house for well over 17 months at this point, and we’ve been talking about our first impressions of home ownership a lot.

Since we moved into our house, a few things have changed in our lives, including the cities that we both work in (cutting down on the commute for both of us), a few financial goals and a few bills. On top of those things, we got engaged and are getting married in just a couple of months. We’re going on a long honeymoon and home ownership has not hindered us from doing these things in the slightest.

Here are a few first impressions of home ownership:

impressions of home ownership


Home ownership is both more and less expensive than I thought it would be

I thought that we would have to make some sacrifices for home ownership. We factored lifestyle into our budget when we were looking at buying our house, and while we realized that we wouldn’t be giving anything up as we had been aggressively saving for home ownership when we were doing this budget, we thought we’d have to put travel and other plans on hold to reach our goal.

We moved into our new home in (very) late 2012, and 2013 was my most well-travelled year yet. I visited Winnipeg, New Orleans, Toronto, Niagara and Chicago. I ramped up the spending in other areas, such as my websites and entertainment, and of course home maintenance.

Turns out we didn’t have to give up as much as I thought we would

Our bills are much lower than what we budgeted for; we thought natural gas and electricity would be much more costly, but turns out that our wood burning fireplace saves us a pretty penny on heating, and we don’t use much more electricity.

One thing that shocks me for being more expensive than I thought it would be is spending on the house. Yard care is quite costly, as are all of the little reno projects we’ve taken on.

There’s no place like home


I had a bad attitude toward renting, and I still do. My preference was always to get into my own home. As somebody who is a complete homebody, I never felt in my element in somebody else’s place. That being said, there was part of me that got cold feet when I was signing the papers to take possession of the house. After all, I am a notoriously antsy person. I need constant change and excitement in my life; it’s part of who I am. I wondered whether the permanency of home ownership was right for me; would I want to get up and move somewhere new in a matter of months?

All of that worrying was for naught. It turns out that I only had a penchant for moving around so much because no place I ever lived in felt like home. I can’t imagine moving out of our house at this point. I truly love being at home, love entertaining and having people over, and there is nothing better than coming back home after a long day or a trip.

It’s a big commitment, but not that big

Signing the papers, I remember thinking about how big of a commitment it is to buy a house. Unlike renters, home owners can’t just up and leave or move or even quit their jobs that easily.

I have to put a lot more thought and consideration into the things that I do that would impact my financial life. I can’t just quit my job without anything lined up, or leave on an extended trip without a lot of planning.

The commitment is a big one, but having a house does not exclude me from doing the things that I want to do (whatever those things are). I’ve been reminded that, should we want to live somewhere else for awhile, we can always rent the rest of the house out. There’s always the freedom to sell if something changes (though this is not the best financial decision).

Options for freedom are still there; they didn’t go away when we bought the house.

Owning a home is a lot of work

I had a notion of this going into it, since my parents had always owned homes when I was growing up, and we were on chore duty. I think you don’t quite realize how much work you do on your house until you go away for a period of time.

We went away for a week recently and noticed how crazy the weeds had gotten. We don’t make a big production of pulling weeds every single weekend, but I guess because we were gone and couldn’t just pull a weed when we noticed it from the garden as we walked by, they added up.

The lawn needs to be mowed regularly, bark mulch needs to be distributed, the house needs regular cleaning. Things like gutters and garage doors and driveways need to be maintained. Who knew that a pressure washer would come in handy like it does?

If you don’t have the capacity for extra work, don’t own a home!


I love our home and yes, I even love yardwork. I know, I'm nuts. Home ownership is certainly not for everybody, but it's definitely for us and I couldn't be happier with our humble abode.