How to Decide What’s a Necessity When Buying a Home
As you start out on your new home search, it’s crucial to think about what is most important to you in a new home. There are some things that seem obvious and straightforward like the number of bedrooms, baths, garage, but ultimately there are a lot of things to consider, and knowing beforehand can help make the search a little more targeted.
We’ll walk through some of the most important areas you might not think to consider right off the bat. From there we’ll provide some questions you can ask yourself to help decide what’s a necessity and what can be a wishlist when buying a home.
By asking these questions you’ll be able to put together a list of “have to have” and an accompanying “nice to have,” list that can streamline your home buying process.
Bedrooms & Space
When determining the ideal size of your home, it’s important to think about what’s working and what’s not working for you in your current space, as well as what your future goals are. There are specifics when it comes to the number of bedrooms as well as the size and layout of each.
- How many family members are currently living in your home? Are you planning on growing?
It’s good to take a step back and think about how well your family fits in your current home. If you have young kids but they’re sharing a room, will it be nice for them to eventually have their own space, therefore, requiring an extra room? Or maybe you’re a couple that is planning on having kids in the future. Or maybe, you’re a multigenerational family that wants to have space for your older parents to come live with you someday. Not only should you think critically about your current space, but also your future plans.
- Do you need extra space for an office or a guest room?
With a lot more people working remotely these days, this is something a lot of buyers are now considering. Remote working or a place for school work is becoming more of a norm in our world than ever before. Think about how important it will be for you to have a designated guest room or office space that might also have enough space for a murphy or pull out bed.
- What do you want your master bedroom to have?
A master bedroom is often your sanctuary inside your home, and it’s somewhere you’ll spend a lot of time. That means it’s a space that’s crucial to consider what you deem necessary. For some, it’s important to have a large master bedroom with double walk-in closets, lots of space for a sit-down area, and a large master bathroom that accompanies it. For others, it doubles as a multi-function room with space for a desk or reading area.
- How many square feet?
To some, there are ideal numbers they look at for space, but at Conner Homes, we really consider how well the house was designed and how well space was optimized with its layout. One 2,000 square foot house can feel tiny if not built optimally, while another can feel spacious and like the perfect amount of space. A good designer will consider the use of the space as well as bring in natural lighting and fully optimize the space.
When it comes to bathrooms, not only should you consider how many you’d like, you should also consider who will be using them and if they need to be full or partials. The “standard” ratio for many is two bathrooms to every three bedrooms. And each bathroom could add a fairly significant cost to the ultimate purchase price.
- Who will be using the bathroom?
Think about your family and who and when they’ll be using the bathroom. If you have children, will they all be getting ready at the same time? Will you have guests or visitors that need to use a full bathroom during their visit? Thinking ahead to these options can help you decide the number of bathrooms required.
- Do you need all your bathrooms to be full bathrooms?
If you have a bathroom on the main floor near your entrance, does it need to be a full bathroom or will a powder room suffice? Think about what spaces need full baths, which ones could work as half baths, and where powder rooms will suffice.
Location. Location. Location.
Another “new normal” in our world is that many people are working remotely from home either part time or full time. This opens the door for new home purchases in locations that you might not have considered because of a daily commute to work or school.
- If you do need to commute, how long will your commute be to your current job? Do you rely on public transportation and are there options for that nearby?
Consider you and anyone else in your household’s potential commute time, as well as what your options are for public transportation. Is it going to be a reasonable commute?
- What schools are nearby and how are they rated?
If you have a family or planning on having one, it’s important to look at what schools are nearby. Are they rated well? And are they easily accessible?
- What amenities are nearby?
Do you and your spouse like to get dinner out a lot and want to be able to walk? Make sure there are spots nearby to grab a bite. What about parks, trails and nearby recreation?
Yard & Outdoor Spaces
Especially in the Seattle area where we are located, there are a lot of differing options for yard sizes. One of the most common new trends is outdoor living areas where people can be outside on a covered patio or cozy up around a fire pit.
- What do you plan on using your outdoor space for?
When thinking about your outdoor space, think about what you and your family may want it for. If you have pets or children who you’d like to have run around a grassy yard, then a fenced area would be important to have. Maybe you want a deck to entertain on with a fireplace and space to put a table. Or maybe, you don’t really care to have a yard and parks nearby will suffice.
- How big of a garage do you need?
How many cars do you need to park? Will you be storing other things in your garage? Considering what you will use the garage for and how big it needs to be. Some people rarely use their garage, while others turn it into a frequented space for outdoor activity gear and storage.
Once you walk through these questions, you can put together your list. What are your must haves and what are things you can put on a wishlist? This can create a sort of checklist when house searching that you can share with your broker or realtor, and will overall help your process go a lot smoother.
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