Many homebuyers will let the budget they have to spend on a house automatically limit themselves to its location, style or the features they want. But even if homebuyers find their choices are ultimately limited, it’s important to dream big when it comes to listing and prioritizing the things that are most important in a home to you.
First, you never know what’s possible if you don't check and having a list of the most important features allows you and your Realtor® to do just that. Plus, it helps your Realtor® better prioritize the homes he or she feels might meet your needs. To help, here’s a list of some of the common considerations that go into finding a house.
Neighborhood – Do you want to live in the suburbs, in the country, or close to town? Generally the further away from a population center you live, the more home you’ll be able to buy for your money. And homes in the suburbs are generally newer as well. You may have to balance those considerations against longer drives to work and not being close to a city’s prime entertainment districts.
An urban location is generally closer to work as well as restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues. Homes are often more distinctive than those found in the suburbs and country as well. But the negatives of living closer often include increased noise, a higher crime rate and higher property prices.
Type of street – Another important consideration is what type of street you want to live on. While many homebuyers wouldn't’ think of living on a busy street, others aren’t bothered by noise of nearby streets and can find great homes for thousands of dollars less. If you’re thinking of buying such a house, it’s a good idea to visit it at different times of the day and on different days of the week to see what traffic and noise are like at different times. Another important consideration is where the bedrooms of the house are located. If they’re in front of the house, sleep could well be disturbed.
Homes on cul de sacs are the top choice of homebuyers with children. But it’s a choice that comes with less privacy. Corner lots are often larger and generally have fewer neighbors but typically have more traffic noise and are more inviting to children and others cutting across.
Types of Home – There are a lot of reasons single-family homes are most popular. They enjoy good appreciation, offer more privacy and afford opportunities to have gardens, swing sets and other outside amenities. They’re typically more expensive, however, that condos and townhomes and require much more maintenance.
The pros of living in townhomes and condominiums include that they’re usually less expensive, have no outside maintenance to worry about, and are generally newer and need fewer repairs. But for those advantages, you trade off privacy and typically live in a noisier environment with common walls, floors and ceilings.
Number of floors – A single-story home has a number of advantages that include ease of access for senior citizens, children, and others for whom stairs present a challenge or danger. But with no separation of floors, single-story homes can sometimes be noisier depending on the location of televisions, stereos and bedrooms.
Homes of two stories or more can offer more square foot on the same size foundation. And typically there’s less noise from entertaining, television viewing, etc., that makes its way to the upper level to disturb sleeping family members. The cons of living in a two-story home include the physical exertion of repeated steps up and down the stairs and the difficulty of maintaining a consistent temperature on different levels. Sometimes dual heating systems and dual vacuum cleaners are needed.
If purchased with an unfinished lower level, split-level homes can be less expensive with more square footage on the same size lot as a ranch home. A family room downstairs typically means less noise for the upper level and the high ceilings of a typical split-level home appeal to many homebuyers. In general, however, split-level homes have less storage space and their kitchens tend to be smaller.
Home interiors – To a large degree, the number of bedrooms is determined by family size with three-bedroom homes being the most requested configuration. And while two-bedroom homes generally appeal more to first time buyers, senior citizens or single individuals, others shouldn’t discount a two-bedroom home if a den or bonus room helps satisfy their space needs.
When it comes to bathrooms, almost all people prefer more than one. Because of that, one-bath homes are typically priced lower. Sometimes a one-bath home can be so attractively priced, however, that putting in an extra bath to meet your needs can be well worth the cost.