Buying a home is a big decision. And, very likely, you probably haven’t bought more than two to four homes in your lifetime. While a qualified real estate professional can be a huge help in the home-buying process, you still need to assess each property for the following, essential must-haves. Many of these are often overlooked by home buyers until after they move in.
1. First and foremost, does it meet your must-haves list? There’s a difference between a must-have such as a particular school district or three bedrooms and a wish list, like a swimming pool. Sometimes, it helps to rate these in order of importance because it will give you some clarity on which items are the most important.
2. A garage with enough space for storing things like bikes, sports equipment and holiday decorations. In terms of resale value, a two-car garage is always going to be preferential to a one-car garage. If you’re a first-time home buyer, a garage may not seem like an essential feature …until you have one.
3. Storage is also something to consider, even if it’s just two of you. What you have now will multiply, especially if you stay in this next home 5-7 years. Is there an attic area where you can store some boxes? Or an overhead/loft area in the garage? Is there an extra or hall closet? Could part of the basement be a good area to organize and store some things?
4. Closets—yes your new home will have them, but are they big enough to accommodate you? Older homes tend to have smaller closets. Smaller homes rarely have things like walk-in closets. If you don’t have a lot of clothes or shoes, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, if anyone else in your family has a large wardrobe, closely reviewing closets would be a good idea. Otherwise, that person will start eyeing any available space in your closet!
5. Cabinets and counter space—will there be enough room for all your dishes, containers, glassware and small appliances? You will not want to trek to the garage every time you need the blender because that’s where half your appliances need to be stored. A large kitchen is never a bad thing to have, even if you’re hardly a gourmet cook. Again, it’s a great feature for resale value as kitchens are often one of the most important areas in the home buying decision process. Assess the counter space as well. If you’re trying to get a meal together for 10 people, will you have room for prepping, plating, and items coming out of the oven that need to cool briefly? During times like this, there are often one or two extra people in the kitchen helping. Is there room for this?
6. Energy efficiency—it’s becoming standard practice in new homes in the Towne Lake and Woodstock area to have several built-in, energy efficient features. But what if you’re buying a resale? Are the windows double-pane? Do appliances like the refrigerator have that Energy Star logo on the front? How old is the water heater? Newer water heaters are much more energy-efficient than ones placed in homes 7-8 years ago. Ditto for other major appliances.
7. An inviting floor plan—most people prefer a more open plan now. Yes, you can often change a floor plan, but doing so is time-consuming and basically adds to the cost you pay for the house. In addition, is there enough space for everyone to spread out and do their own thing? All family members may not want to watch the same television program, for example. Or you may have toddlers right now who you don’t want to let out of your sight, but will there be enough space when they are 10 or 12 and need to do homework or have friends over? And while they have friends over, is there a quiet little nook for you to read a book or do some paperwork from the office?
8. If you have a unique hobby, is there room to accommodate this? Whether it’s a large scale crafts project, tinkering with motorcycles, setting up a massive model train set or practicing the French horn, where could you accomplish this in the homes you are considering as your next address?We hope these tips have helped you to look for those less tangible features in your potential new home. It’s easy to get caught up in that gourmet kitchen, only to realize too late that there’s next to no storage capabilities in your home. A good Realtor will find you a home with both.
As always, if you have any questions, contact Ursula & Associates today!