What Are Your Must-Haves for Your New Home?
Before you start looking for something, you need to know what that something is. This is especially true with a search as daunting as looking for your new home. Buying a house is unique because the process is long, the decision is emotional, and the investment is larger than most. The outcome affects not only where you live, but how you live. So once the budget is set and you know what you are willing to spend, it’s time to decide what you want to get for your money.
Prior to making any decisions, first consider what types of homes are realistically available in the area to which you hope to move. For example, if you want a modern style home but are looking to move somewhere in New England, it’s important to know the New England housing stock is typically older. Therefore, you should anticipate adding some renovation costs to your budget in order to create your preferred style. Understanding the current housing inventory can help you adjust your expectations and budget constraints in an effort to avoid disappointment.
The next step after reviewing what’s available is to make your list of home requirements. What items are required for you to sign the paperwork and feel right about it? What are your must-haves? The longer your list, the longer your home search may be. It might be easier to keep it short if you consider only features that are impossible or very difficult to change about the house. Many homebuyers restrict their must-have list to these three items:
- Location. This is the only feature of a house that cannot be altered in any way once you make the purchase, so there’s a good chance it’s on your list. Maybe you want to be near your family, or hope to have a reasonable work commute. However, it’s important to understand the nuances of the neighborhood you are considering – even if it seems like they don’t concern you. For example, an area’s failing school system may affect the resale value of your home. A Realtor is especially helpful in this part of your search, as they have a deep knowledge of each neighborhood.
- Number of Bedrooms. Obviously, the number of bedrooms depends heavily on the number of people who will occupy the house. Virtually every buyer will have a minimum number of bedrooms they can live with and be comfortable. But beyond meeting your immediate needs, the number of bedrooms in a home also affects the value of your investment. Typically, three-bedroom homes sell more easily than two-bedroom homes because they are more popular with buyers. Of course new bedrooms can be added to a home, but they often require layout changes and consequently a significant amount of money and inconvenience.
- Number of Bathrooms. The typical buyer requires at least one full bathroom plus either a half bath, or the option to add a half bath. Besides the convenience of having another bathroom in a home with more than one person, many people prefer to have another bathroom because they don’t want everyone who walks through the front door to have to use their private bathroom space. But, not every one-bathroom home has the layout and plumbing flexibility to offer the option of another bathroom. Like bedrooms, new bathrooms can of course be added to any home. But layout changes paired with plumbing accomodations can add up quickly in cost.
Buying a house is an emotional purchase, and oftentimes items that aren’t on your must-have list will have a factor in the ultimate decision. Buyers can become very attached to the style of a house, or a beautifully landscaped yard. Try to see through aesthetic differences and stick to your must-haves. If you have a solid house in a good location with the layout you want, those cosmetic changes can come later.
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