Tips for Buying the Perfect House


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This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust Mortgage. All opinions are my own.

It’s been a month since we moved from Ft. Lauderdale to Gainesville, and I could not be happier with the changes we made for our family. Because we had been planning this move {on and off} for about 18 months, we knew exactly what we wanted from our new home. We had already chosen the community, a lovely area about 20 minutes west of the University of Florida.

Check out Your Guide to Home Buying if you’re ready to get started.

There were some items that were must-haves when we were looking for a home:

  1. A large backyard. Our previous home had a small backyard. This home is on 1/4 of an acre, so there’s a large yard for the children and dogs to play.
  2. Either a sidewalk or in a cul-de-sac. Our previous home did not have a safe area for the kids to ride bikes or scooters. We now live in a very quiet cul-de-sac.
  3. Good schools. We picked a home in an A school district. We have heard great things about our neighborhood school, so I’m excited for the kids to begin this fall.
  4. Great community. Our community has so many amenities: multiple swimming pools, a village center with several restaurants, a trail that weaves through the entire community, an equestrian center, a butterfly garden, and more!
  5. Connection to nature. Our favorite family activity each week is walking through this beautiful canopy of trees on a Saturday morning to visit our community’s farmer’s market. The trees are part of what make this community so beautiful, along with the birds, butterflies, squirrels, rabbits, turtles, and other awesome critters.

Within this community are literally thousands of homes with a broad range of sizes and values, so we really considered three options:

  1. A move-in ready home at the top of our budget.
  2. A home that needed some upgrades at the middle of our budget.
  3. A complete fixer-upper at the bottom of our budget.

We chose option #2. We wanted a home that was over 2000 square feet, so we purchased a home that is 1900 square feet, and we are adding an almost 400-square foot sunroom to the back of the home {converting the patio to a real room}. These are the before pictures. We have been working with a contractor to draw up all of the plans. They have been submitted to the city and the community, and once we have permits, we will hit the ground running! Here are the renovations that will be completed:

This home had an older kitchen, so we are completely remodeling the kitchen by removing the soffits, switching from 30″ to 42″ cabinets, moving the refrigerator to the other side of the kitchen, removing a wall, and transforming the peninsula into an 8-foot island. As you can see, the tiles need to be replaced as well.

Now that we will have a huge island with bar stools as a secondary seating option {we also have a dining table in the eat-in portion of the kitchen}, we are also converting the formal dining room into an office by adding a wall and pocket french doors. This office space should be large enough to accommodate all of my blog props, craft items, and two desks with chairs so Richard and I can work side-by-side. And you notice those huge windows? Great for photography!

Remember that extension I mentioned? Well, here’s the original screened-in patio. We are converting it to a sunroom by extending the roof, extending the foundation, removing the carpet, and changing out the screens for walls and windows. It’s going to be a gorgeous room, half of which will be a children’s space, the other half an adult space.

On our own, we are also doing painting projects, landscaping, purchasing new furniture pieces, and giving the house a look that is both modern and traditional, simple and uncluttered. I cannot wait until all of the upgrades to our home have been made. The estimated date is late October, just in time for the holiday season. Our new home will be amazing!

When you are ready to buy a new home, check out SunTrust Mortgage, where they are ready to assist you with this process. In advance, make a list of your absolute must-haves, determine your budget, and decide if you want to buy a fixer-upper, a home that needs some updating, or a move-in ready house. And remember to look at as many homes as you need to picture the perfect place for your family to live.

What did you look for when you purchased your home?

About Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Dr. Carrie Wells is a college instructor, blogger, wife, and work-at-home mother to two children, Lydia {age 8} and Bryce {age 6}. Carrie earned her doctorate in Special Education in 2008. After becoming a mother in 2009, Carrie began blogging as Huppie Mama to share her passions for cooking, crafting, beautifying, and her family. In 2016, she rebranded as Our Potluck Family, and her husband Richard became a regular contributor.

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