It’s not just “how many bedrooms and bathrooms” you need… it’s also about your future plans, too!
Step one: Determine your needs and wants, both now and in the future.
Step two: Find an experienced, local real estate agent. Tell them your needs! With that information, they will be able to help you….
- Understand the area’s value
- Understand if the home was built solidly, or built poorly (experienced agents have been to hundreds of home inspections)
- Understand if you’re getting caught up in trivial matters. They can bring you back to center, so that your home truly works for your needs.
For the here and now, consider these options:
- Are school districts important to you?
- Is your driving time to work a factor?
- Is public transportation a factor?
Age of home: Each era of home has unique features:
- 1940’s and earlier – old world charm, lots of rooms, lots of doors, small-ish closets and bathrooms
- 1950’s and 60’s – may have huge stone fireplaces or low-slope roofs, or built-in gutter systems. Tend to still have small-ish closets and bathrooms.
- 1970’s and 80’s – building codes came into existence, and timber was plentiful. These homes often have great construction quality–and “popcorn” ceilings.
- 1990’s and 2000’s – open concept homes and newer methods of construction. Larger bathrooms and walk-in closets.
- 2010’s to present: modern! Mostly open-concept, often with high entry ceilings, homes typically built “right next to each other,” or as custom homes.
Size of home: Keep in mind, the bigger the home, the more costly it is to maintain! More paint, more roof, more flooring, etc.
Size of lot: How much do you love yard maintenance? Think about your lifestyle – if you’re “always on the go,” perhaps a big yard isn’t for you. If you are thinking about acreage, do you really need lots of land, or do you just need privacy?
Updated home vs. Cosmetic Fixer vs. Fixer:
- Homes that have been updated have the highest cost per square foot, and are at greatest risk of receiving a low appraisal.
- Cosmetic Fixers can be moved into now, and renovated over time: but look at your available time, and “extra money.” Do you have the time to work on things? Do you have the money?
- Fixer: These can be a great value, if you are already skilled in construction, or have connections in the construction industry that you are certain will be helping you out.
Style of home: One story? Two stories? Tri-level? Split Entry? One story with a basement? Do stairs matter to you, if this is your ‘forever’ home?
“Extras” such as a garage or a fenced yard:
- A garage not only costs a lot of money to build, it requires permits too. If you need a garage, it’s usually most cost-effective to find a property that already has the garage space you need.
- Yards can always be fenced in (check county/municipal/neighborhood rules first)
Homeowner’s Association (HOA), or no HOA? HOA’s can be very different. I’ve experienced three types below, based on rules I’ve read and actual experience.
- HOA Type 1: “No visible garbage cans except on garbage day, and park your cars in your garage at night. You may only paint your house certain colors, and there are rules about the vegetation you plant as well.”
- HOA Type 2: “No farm animals allowed, sheds and fences must be approved by the architectural control committee. Keep your yard tidy, RV’s and boats must be kept behind a fence.”
- HOA Type 3: “We’ll keep up the neighborhood park. If you complain about the broken-down car in front of your neighbor’s yard, we’ll send a polite note. We’ll take further action if it’s not gone in a couple of months.”
For the future, consider how long you’ll be living here…
Are you going to move in just a few years? If yes, think about whether you will rent it out, or sell it.
- If you’re going to sell it when you move: Pick a home that’s appealing to a wide variety of homeowners – if there are lots of homes on the market, you want to be sure that your house ranks high on the “scale of universal appeal.”
- If you’re going to rent it after you move: Perhaps finding a house with a newer roof and smaller yard is going to weigh into your decision-making process. Think like a landlord, then ask yourself, “Can I live here in the meantime?” Also, “What will my cash flow look like?”
Is this a “starter home” for you? Perhaps you’re certain your income and/or family size will increase, but you’re ready to stop renting now! If this is your situation, consider the equity improvements you can make – for example, maybe the yard is rough and unfenced. Simply caring for the grass, adding a few flower beds, and fencing the yard can create a huge return on your investment. Or, perhaps you’ve purchased a “cosmetic fixer” and are planning to install new bathrooms, a new kitchen, and new flooring… be sure to keep it neutral, and not too “modern” (design trends come and go), so that you don’t have to do it twice. And try to do it early – so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labors, before you plan to sell.
Is this your “forever home?” “No stairs” is the most typical need for this buyer. Again – consider the size of the yard. Do you plan on hiring a groundskeeper if you’re in your home longer than you can maintain it on your own? The same goes for the size of the home – just how much home do you really need?
All in all, What Makes a Home the Right One has many factors to consider! Make a list of your wants and needs for now and for the future, determine their order of importance, and consult with an experienced agent.
The right home for YOU is out there, and Adept would love to help you find it!