I've begun the first step to buying a house: Research and planning. I know I'm not ready quite yet so I'm not going to rush out and find a house just yet.
What I have done is started making a list of features I want in a house.
At least two 12x12 or greater Bedrooms
I plan on getting a roommate so I don't want to go cheap on the secondary bedroom. I would also like a designated room, even if smaller, for CouchSurfing guests.
- At least two full bathrooms
- Master Bathroom
It would be nice but not absolutely required.
- Open View Kitchen (view into dining / living room)
- No Tiled Kitchen Counters
No Vaulted Ceilings
I don't understand the appeal of vaulted ceilings. They raise the heating and cooling costs and complications beyond belief.
Thermostat placement must make sense
The thermostats must be harmonious. Putting the upstairs thermostat downstairs at the end of a hallway is no good. Putting a thermostat in a hallway that has most of the vents in rooms yet is highly influenced by another thermostat/AC is not a happy home.
- Decent sized Backyard
East, South, and/or North of work
Living to the east of work means always driving away from the sun in the morning and evening.
Less than five mile drive from work
The less commute time the more I can do in the morning before going in to work.
- Not a Condo or Townhouse
I've also taken my current finances into account to figure out what I can afford and what I'll need to save. I probably won't be doing a 20% down payment in addition to closing and other upfront costs. It should still be possible to do 10% while still covering for the closing and upfront costs. I could feasibly do 20,000$ for upfront costs (down payment + closing + etc) within the next year. Taking that into consideration and how much I could afford as a monthly mortgage payment (plus HOA fees and other new monthly costs) I could probably afford a house around 150,000$. I'll have to spend that same amount of time making sure my credit report is correct and building up credit references by the system.