Everyone will have their own priorities when buying a home. A home purchase can be a complex process and it’s easy to get distracted and fall off track. To make things easier, start by making a list of those home features that are most important to you. Your buyer’s agent can help you with this but they can’t give much advice if they don’t know what you’re looking for. Knowing what’s important will help you eliminate options when viewing different houses. In this article, we’ll go through the most important features to consider when buying a home. Some will be higher on the priority list for you than others but it’s still important to consider all of them.
The first feature to always consider with real estate is the location. If it’s ever a choice between a home with all the amenities you need but a bad location, versus the opposite, choose the one with a great location. Amenities can be added later but you can never fix a bad location. What makes for a good location depends on your preferences. If you need an easy commute then check for easy access to the main roads and traffic flow. What about the location within the neighborhood? Talk about all this with your realtor and ask if certain lot locations in a neighborhood will mean a higher price.
The Size of the Lot
The property itself will be the first thing you’ll look at but don’t forget to also consider the lot it’s on. Most lots in a neighborhood will be fairly similar but small differences could make a difference depending on what you plan to do with the space. If you’re not sure about this then you should get a feel for what you’re looking for once you’ve viewed a few different properties. If there’s any uncertainty about where one lot ends and another begins then check the listing description and talk with your realtor.
The Number of Bedrooms
Chances are you already have a good idea of how many bedrooms you’re looking for in a home. Most people will want at least two but if you have children then that number goes up. Depending on the ages of your children you may prefer one room for them to share or split rooms to accommodate different sleeping times and study habits. If you picture having friends and relatives over on occasion then a spare bedroom should be considered. Having a spare bedroom can also serve as a playroom, study room, storage room, or office. Think about your lifestyle and what your needs are.
The Number of Bathrooms
Just like bedrooms, your lifestyle and plans for the future will dictate how many bathrooms you’ll need. You can certainly add an extra one later if needed but a bathroom remodel is one of the most expensive renovations you can make. Think also about what you’ll need the bathroom for. Do you want a bathtub, a shower, or both? Consider how your needs in the future might change as your family grows. This is where thinking about the ease or difficulty of renovations is important.
The Kitchen Layout
Usually considered as the heart of the home, the kitchen layout will be a huge consideration. Your lifestyle and cooking habits will dictate what you’re looking for here. Do you like to entertain and have guests over? Then you’ll need a large kitchen with lots of counter space. Do you only cook on occasion and only simple meals at that? Then a small and typical kitchen layout will suffice. If the kitchen layout is important to you then it’s worth having a long conversation with your realtor about this. The better picture they have of what you’re looking for the easier they can find that perfect home.
The Level of Maintenance Needed
Unless you’re buying a new construction, there’ll probably be a bit of maintenance needed after any purchase. Take notes of all potential maintenance or repair issues in each property you visit. Some might only be cosmetic, while others might require a lot of time and money to fix. Have a full inspection done of any home your considering to check for maintenance issues. Talk also with your realtor to see if any maintenance issues could be used in negotiations to get a lower price or concessions.
Home amenities are a big part of the home and you’ll want to check what their age and condition is. Older homes, in particular, could have issues with the electrical wiring or plumbing that will need solving. Do a check on all the appliances and amenities in the home and make notes on their model and condition. Don’t assume either that all the appliances you see will come with the home. Check the listing to see what’s included and what’s not.
The Age of the Home
Unless you’re only interested in new-constructions, the age of the home may be a factor. Older homes can come with a certain character that might be important to you. However, an older home can also mean maintenance issues and certain upgrades as well. Think about your budget and whether you have the time and after-sale money to handle this. Another issue is building codes. Older homes built under different building codes can present problems. It’s a good idea to have an understanding of these different codes and what they could mean for you.