Some people may make the mistake of rushing into renting or buying a property, only to realize later on that there’s something that they dislike or is missing. I’m not talking about missing shingles or whether it is up to code or not—a proper home inspection can easily catch that. I am talking about those key features and lifestyle elements you and your family are looking for that take the property from house to home. Those should play just as important of a role in your home search as whether the plumbing has been installed correctly.
My best advice before you even begin your house hunt is to evaluate your current home. Create a list of items you love and that work well for you and your family. Then, create a list of things you don’t like about it or things you would like to change. These lists will help you decide on your “must haves” and your “want to haves.” and will be the lists you take house hunting with you. The home that checks most, if not all, of your boxes will be high on your potential buy list.
#2 - Renovation Potential
Does the house you like need work? Are you capable of taking on the renovation by contracting it out or adding on some sweat equity? This can be one of the best ways to ensure you will love the home now. Of course, a major renovation means you can make changes to the layout, adding or removing rooms as you desire, but even minor renovations, like changing the countertops or flooring, can help you fall in love and stay in love with a property.
#3 - Evaluate Size & Storage
Size demands can go both ways. Too small, and you will feel like you’re bursting at the seams and will need to upsize sooner than you had planned. Too large, and you will find it hard to make the home feel “homey”—there’s a lot of furniture required to fill a large home and you may become frustrated with the amount of daily maintenance required. And for storage, can you ever have too much storage? (Well, I guess there comes a point where you need to purge those junior kindergarten halloween costumes…)
Your home should be just big enough for your family and have the desired space to store your belongings.
#4 - Investigate the Neighbourhood
If you enjoy talking with your neighbors over the fence, walking for exercise, or meeting at the local coffee shop, see if your new neighbourhood can offer that. Is the home close to the places important to you, like your parents’ house, work, schools, and activities? If it’s not, will it bother you to drive 30 minutes to an hour to and from each day?
#5 - Pay Attention to Your Feelings
Do you get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you walk in the door? Does the home “speak” to you? Does it feel like home? Can you envision your family living there? Have you already begun imagining furniture arrangements?
#6 - Be Realistic
The house you end up with may not be your dream house. It’s imperative that you end up with a house you’re going to be happy living in, but you might also have to adjust your expectations if the home you want isn’t one you can afford. Working with an experienced local REALTOR® will help you determine if your budget will meet your wants and needs. But knowing the difference between the two is key. You may have to pass on some of your wants to have in order to get your needs.
It can be a delicate balance between taking the time to make sure a house is right for you and making sure you get to it before someone else does, especially in a seller’s market. I will ensure you look at all the houses that align with your budget, needs, and wants. Then, together, we will weigh both the practical and emotional factors. Think about the pros and cons of the houses you’re considering but consult your gut as well. Sometimes, when it’s the “the one,” you just know.