When looking for your dream home, it is important to define, beforehand, what you are looking for in a structure. Here are some things to consider as you begin your search.
1. What type of home do I want? Single family, Condo, Co-op …
There are many different types of residences ranging from single-family units to condos and co-ops. To understand the different types of homes and what will work for you, it is important at this stage to decide what type of residence you would like to live in so as to reduce the number of properties you will need to look at. Of course you may not be sure so do a little homework and decide what is best for you.
How many stories.
Do I want a single story or two-story residence. If you have a preference think this one through as your agent may only show you the preference an you may miss out on a great home because of this. It may be a good idea to tell your agent what your preference is however you are willing to look at other properties that meet the remainder of the home specifications you decide on.
Brick or wood.
You may not care beyond that the material is in good condition what the home is made of however some people are very passionate about either brick or wood homes. Decide if you want to look at all homes, brick or wood that meet your home specifications or make a decision on if you have a preference. Make sure to let the agent know so you do not end up viewing properties that are made of say wood and you only want brick. Some properties have wood framework and the remainder of the structure is brick. So, if you decided earlier on a brick only home, will this meet your needs and decide if this is okay with you.
Brick homes in general require less maintenance however maintenance is generally more expensive when it is needed. Wooden homes will generally need regular painting unless they are sided with a material that does not need to be painted regularly such as aluminum.
3. New or existing home.
There are many advantages to owning a new home such as updated home styles, newer model refrigerator and washers, however newer home are generally in newer developments and may be without all your favorite stores nearby and without mature trees. This is, however, not always the case.
An existing home may have a lot of charm, mature and landscaped ground and be in a well-established neighborhood. Older homes are generally larger and may have those wooden floors you’ve dreamed of. An existing home may also have higher maintenance costs because just like everything else as it ages it requires more care and more repairs.
How many bedrooms do you need and how many en suites?
Do you want a few large bedrooms or do you prefer to have a larger number of smaller bedrooms? Decide on the number and approximate sizes. The same applies to bathrooms. Do you need one on each level and you probably do and how many. Does each bedroom need a separate bathroom or only the master bedroom and how big does the family bathroom need to be? Think about each of these questions before deciding.
Closet space is very important when looking at new homes especially if there is no basement or attic. Have all the rooms been built in closets or is there room to put in stand alone units which may be an extra expense? Will the closets that are in place hold all your stuff or will you need to look at alternative storage? Moving companies usually can put you in the right direction if this is the way you want to go.
Do you want a large eat in kitchen or a smaller one with a breakfast bar only .If you have a large family or are a gourmet chef you will probably want the larger one however if you are single and eat out all the time a small kitchen may be just what you want.
Do you want separate dining room or will the kitchen be where any formal meals are eaten .If you are big on entertaining you may need the separate dining room. Again have an idea on the size that will work for you.
Living room /family room. This is probably the most used room in the house. This is where you will gather with your family and friends, watch TV and entertain. This may also be the room you take a nap in after a large meal so having an idea on what you want is very important. You may also want a den or study room where some of the same activities that happen in the family room occur. Some families use the living room as the formal room when there are guests or for special occasions and use the den as the main family room. This may affect what size and what you want in the rooms.You may want a fireplace in one or the other of these two room or none at all.
Basements - many new and existing homes come with a basement .The basement can be either finished or unfinished. The basement can add another room or rooms to the house and can double the square size footage of the house. The basement can be an ideal place to put that noisy washer or can be finished to give teenagers their own living quarters or can be an equally good storage space. An attic can have the same purpose depending on the height and if there are windows. If the sole use of the attic and or basement is for storage ask yourself if there is enough storage space to store everything you need or if there is none at all, where will you store all that extra stuff? Moving companies will be able to help you with this.
Is a yard on your must have list and if it is have you though about what you will use it for and what is a good size for you. Do you want to use your green fingers and do some gardening or is this simply a patch for the kids and you may only to need to grass this area in that case. Do you have a family pet that will use this land as their primary recreation area and if so does the area need to be fenced in. Of course you may want the yard to serve many purposes and this is probably the most likely case so think of what you will use this space for.
5. A garage.
Have you decided on whether a garage is a must have or is this on your wish list but not a deal breaker. Whatever the case garages are very useful extra rooms in a home. Some garages are attached to the home and others may be detached and are a small walk from the home. The garage can have a multitude of uses such as house your car in the winter and keep it snow free or it can keep that unsightly lawnmower out of view.
6. Central air conditioning and forced air heat.
Central air conditioning and forced air heat may also be on your must have list and it is a good idea to decide up front what you need and what you will negotiate around.