With the beginning of this New Year we have found ourselves, personally, in the process of moving to a new home. Downsizing and moving closer to our grandchildren.

This move has made me contemplate what exactly takes place in purchasing a new home: What are the determining factors?

I have realized that we make what could be a lifelong, or certainly a long term commitment based on a few minutes in a house. Of course we do our due diligence; we look at the neighborhood statistics, look at the style of the house, the square footage, the age.

But we do not move in and try it on for size.

We check the electrical; make sure there is not a Federal Pacific Breaker Box. We look at the electrical connections in the attic and we make sure that the closet fixture isn’t wired with a spliced electrical cord.

Then we do the same with the plumbing, at a distance.

We hire an inspector to inform us of the small and potentially large issues needing repair in the house that we may (or may not) purchase.

 We don’t walk around in the home for a week or so and then say, “Ok, it’s a fit, I think I’ll take this one.” We are not afforded that luxury. We must make this financially daunting life affecting decision basically on the fly.

 Not until you actually move in, or start moving items in, do you suddenly realize what factors are now REALLY going to be affecting your life. We concentrate on the monthly mortgage, the utility bills, and predictable formulas, however there are far more factors that are not visible upon first inspection.

 The sound of the street traffic, while you are in your back yard at midnight.

How many people walk their dogs in the neighborhood.

You can’t know in advance, exactly where the floor is going to squeak when you get up to raid the refrigerator at 3AM.

You can’t know whether your cat will like the new location of her litter box.

Will your dogs want to swim in the backyard pool?

Will you be able to back your car down that seemingly endless driveway?

To counteract these things you have to be forward thinking and proactive every day. The same way that we tell our employees to prepare for the service call at your home. If they are going to change out a breaker box, make note of the switch plate color and have some outlets and switches on hand in case the customer has a need to upgrade.

The point being, it is really the small things in life that really affect us the most. All we can do is be prepared for those intrinsic things that we don’t always know or see.

Happy New Year and to those of you moving this year: Happy New Home and check for a litter box closet.

Toni Terrill Skaff