Finding the perfect house for you and your family is no easy task. You may end up looking at dozens of different houses before finding the one that’s right for you. However, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to judge whether a house you’re looking at is the right one and to compare the houses you’ve seen to one another without sitting down and really considering what it is that you need. You’re not going to find the perfect house if you don’t know what to look for, after all.
Before you begin going over the things you need your new home to have, you need to get your finances in order. This means getting pre-approved for a mortgage and determining what your price range is. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to figure out what your perfect home should have. The following are the things you’ll need to consider:
Location – There are a lot of pros and cons to consider when considering the location. The main three options you have in terms of basic locations are urban, suburban and rural. Homes located in urban areas tend to be closer to work. They are usually closer to the amenities of the city as well, which is great for single homeowners or couples without children that like to enjoy the entertainment options that urban areas offer, such as the nightlife. Suburban areas are perfect for families with kids or that are planning to have kids as they are generally safer and more private than urban areas. You may have to drive a bit to get to work, but most homeowners in the suburbs are more than happy to make this tradeoff. The suburbs generally have all the necessary amenities within an acceptable distance as well. Homes in rural areas tend to be far away from everything and may require a lengthy trip just to get to the grocery store. These areas are perfect for those that desire complete privacy – retired individuals or couples will often move to rural areas.
Convenience – How important convenience is to you will also affect the location in which you should be looking for a home in. For example, it’s going to be much more convenient to live in a city nearby all the amenities you need than in a rural area. There are other factors to consider when thinking about convenience as well. For example, how close will you be to major roads? Are there any grocery stores, banks or gas stations within walking distance? How far away will you be from work? If you fly across the country or world for business, how far away is the nearest airport?
Schools – If you have kids or are planning on having kids, then you’ll want to make sure that the house is located in a good school district. Do a little research about the schools in your area – how well regarded are they? What are their graduation rates? Do they have a high turnover rate in regards to their teaching staff? How far away are the nearest schools? Do you want your kids to be able to walk to school?
View – The view is more important than you might think as it can affect your emotional well-being. Do you care if the majority of your view consists of other buildings? You may if you don’t want to feel like you are living in a cramped space or would prefer to have more privacy. For some, views of natural surroundings are very important. For others, the view really has no effect on them.
Sound – How much does sound bother you? This can affect the location in which you should be looking. If you have difficulty sleeping at night if there’s too much noise, then living in an urban area or near a major road may not be a good idea. However, if complete silence bothers you, you probably won’t want to live in a rural area.
Type of House – Do you want to live in an actual house or would you not mind living in a condo or a townhouse? If you prefer a house, do you have a preference as to whether it’s a one-story or a two-story house?
Bedrooms and Bathrooms – Don’t determine the number of bedrooms and bathrooms based on who is living with you right now. Keep the future in mind. Do you think you will have children — or more children — in the future? If so, you may want an extra bedroom and bathroom. An extra bedroom can also be useful if you have guests over regularly or if you think your parents may move in at some point. In addition to considering who else may live in your home in the future, also think about whether you could use the extra space for another reason. For example, maybe you would like a home office or a home gym. An extra bedroom could easily be converted into a room you could use. As far as bathrooms go, having one on every floor of the house makes things more convenient, as does having separate bathrooms for the adults and kids.
Flooring – The type of flooring the house has may not seem that consequential since you could technically get it replaced, but doing so is usually pretty expensive. Carpeting and hardwood are typically the most common types of flooring. They both have their pros and cons. Carpeting is adds warmth, which is great in the winters. It’s also very soft, making it more comfortable than wood as well as safer if you have children or seniors living with you since there will be less of a risk of injury if they fall. However, wood tends to look nicer and is much easier to clean than carpet. Choosing between the two depends a lot on your specific needs.
Pets make it even more difficult to choose between hardwood and carpeting. On one hand, pets may not be able to grip hardwood that well, resulting in lots of slipping and sliding as well as possible scratches in the wood. On the other hand, carpeting is going to be much harder to clean up if a pet makes a mess. You may also want a yard space if you have a big pet and possible even a fence around the property to keep the pet from running away.
Architectural Style – While you may have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, the style of your house is quite important to your enjoyment of it. The last thing you want to do is buy a house that you don’t find to be aesthetically pleasing. There are lots of different architectural styles out there, such as American Craftsman, Ranch, Cottage and Victorian styles, just to name a few. Do a little research in order to figure out what styles you like and don’t like.
Universal Design – Homebuyers often get caught thinking only about the present. Consider the convenience and accessibility of the house itself if you plan on aging in place or if your parents are going to move in at some point in the future. As you age, you may become more mobility challenged. Because of this, you may want to look for homes that implement universal design, such as easy-to-access entrances, a first floor bathroom, showers without curbs instead of bathtubs, a spacious kitchen that’s easy to move around in and more.
Parking – Do you have a car? If so, do you mind off-street parking? If off-street parking is hard to come by in the area in which you are looking, you may want a garage. When looking at garages, consider how much space you need. How many cars does your family own? Do you think you’ll end up getting another car in the future?
Walkability – The walkability of a home includes how convenient it is to walk to some of the amenities near the house. The overall look and safety of the neighborhood are also big factors in how walkable it is.
These are the things that you’ll need to consider no matter what your price range is. Of course, there may be some other features that you might want as well, such as an outdoor pool or a backyard deck. These, however, are features that you should sacrifice for the previously mentioned factors if it comes down to having to make a choice and are features that can often be added on later. Focus on the factors that are listed in order to find a house that is as close to perfect as possible in regards to your budget.