When you are dreaming of moving to a new home but not yet ready to make the leap into your future, it’s a good idea to consider the details of what that future life will look like. As you get closer to starting the process, you should have a well-rounded idea of your wants and needs for that home. Setting expectations for yourself ahead of time will help you narrow down the search once you are ready to take the leap to purchase a new home.
So, what will your life in your new home be like? Here are 7 features to kickstart your imagination.
Before you start looking, have an ideal price range in mind so you do not end up falling in love with a home you cannot afford. Leave room for the money you may put into renovations and personalizations to the house as well. You'll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search so that when you find the home, you want you can take action right away. Whatever your budget, keep it in mind throughout your house hunt. If you have to sell your home before you buy a new one, you'll want to consider your equity as well.
Location, Location, Location!
The location should be one of the top features when looking for a home, as it is the one thing you cannot change. It is important to consider not only the town or city but also the neighborhood and its proximity to your frequented spots.
- Downtown - Is it essential for you to be within walking distance of the nightlife and local restaurants, or do you prefer a quiet street removed from the activity?
- Schools - If you have children, you will want to pay attention to schools in the area, your future home’s proximity to them, and the school district's quality.
- Commute - Think about the length of your commute and the mode of transportation you will be taking; will you need to be close to a train station or the highway? Or if you work from home, you'll want to consider the space you'll need for that.
- Community - Take note of the type of community and what it has to offer, including parks, beaches, lakes, organizations, and anything else you need to thrive.
You should love the place you live in, so whether you want to be nestled in nature or right in the middle of the activity, find a location that makes you excited to move there.
You should consider the home exterior the same way you would choose what outfit to wear for an average of 8.05 years. It’s the first thing others, and yourself will see when arriving at your home. From Colonial style to ranch or cottage style, think about what design you want your home to present to the world. Once you have a general idea of what exterior style you want to go for, you can start brainstorming the details. This can include paint color, window frames, and if you want to have shutters. Take some time to look at options at your local home improvement store, so you can later recognize them when looking at homes. Finally, you will want to consider what is around the exterior of the home. This will affect your home’s curb appeal, which is the overall attractiveness of the property when viewed from the street. This will contribute to the personality of your home and will also be important in the long run if you ever decide to put that home up for sale.
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Size and Floor Plan
When looking for a place to live, you should keep in mind the phase in life you are currently in and how your life and family may change in the future.
- Think long term - If you are planning on expanding your family in the future, you will want to look for a home with plenty of room, whereas if you have children that will be moving out soon, you may want to consider a smaller home.
- Floor plan - The layout of your home should reflect the life you live. Do you like an open concept floor plan or prefer your rooms to be defined?
- Prioritize your favorites - Pay attention to the features in your current home that you couldn’t live without, and make sure you are searching for a home that includes them. If comfort is essential to you, consider a home that has a cozy family room, whereas if you love natural light, look at homes with plenty of windows.
- Home office - If you work at home, the perfect office is essential. Keep in mind rooms that can easily be converted to an office, as well their proximity to the central areas of the house, to ensure you have a quiet space to work.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
The bedrooms are critical to your home search since these are the places you will begin and end the day.
- Number - Keep in mind how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need and where you would like them to be located in the house. For example, if you have a newborn, you may want a bedroom that is far from the frequented areas, so your child can sleep without noise disturbance.
- Master bedroom - Consider if you want the master bedroom to be on the same floor as the other rooms and if an ensuite master is a priority. This will be your private sanctuary, so find a home with a master bedroom you can fall in love with.
- Size - Look at the size of the bedrooms to guarantee that you'll have enough space. Pay attention to bathroom size as well, do you need a shower in all of them? Are you looking for a half bath near your entertaining spaces?
Closet and Storage Space
The areas your guests don’t see are just as vital as the ones you show off. Check homes for closet space or areas that can easily be converted to storage. Think about where you like to keep your possessions, do you prefer a walk-in closet that can hold everything or a small, convenient coat closet right next to your front door? Note how much storage space you currently use to estimate what you will need in your new home. This may also be a good time to clean out your closets for a true assessment of your belongings.
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Whether it’s outdoors or indoors, extra space has become one of the most sought-after features for buyers in 2021. Here are a few types of outdoor spaces to consider for yourself:
- Garden - If you're a hobby gardener, make sure your future home has space for you to start a garden if there is not already one there.
- Garage - Do you want a place to park your car that doubles as extra storage? Not all homes come equipped with one, so think about whether it’s essential for you.
- Backyard - Questions to ask yourself when thinking about a backyard are, do you want a pool? Is a patio already built-in? Or space to add one when you are ready?
Now that your top needs are out of the way let's talk about the finishing touches. We know it’s always the little details that make your house feel like a home. These are gonna be your things like the current flooring, kitchen cabinets, or the color of the walls. It may not make or break the decision to purchase the home, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to have what you prefer. Although these are things you can always change in the future, they may cost you more in the long run, so crunch the numbers before you decide if that finishing touch is worth it or not. Remember, budget first!
Now that your imagination is running wild, you can take this list of features and start customizing it for yourself. That way, when the time to go from "just-looking” to actively-in-the-market comes, you will know exactly what to look for.