You’re shopping for your first house. That’s exciting! There’s so much to think about. What style of home will you consider? Where will it be located? How much will you pay? How much will you mortgage? Is it too big? Too small?
Indeed, one of the most important aspects of home buying is to match the home to fit your lifestyle. This is YOUR home (“you” meaning “you” alone or “you and your family”), and it should absolutely fit not only the number of people who will live in it, but it should also be amenable to how you live.
You’ll undoubtedly get lots of opinions, especially if you’re a single person purchasing a home for the first time. Friends and relatives will want to coach you on “must haves,” and those HGTV hosts will insist that the “open floor plan” is the thing for you and that you simply cannot be without a gourmet kitchen.
But is that right for you? Think about what things will improve your quality of life and which will best meet your needs and consider some of these questions:
- Do you host large dinners or parties? If not, you probably don’t need a formal dining room OR a huge kitchen. If you do, then be sure those two things are on your list.
- How about a formal living room? You might love that traditional living area but, on the other hand, you might be better served by a more informal den area that connects to the kitchen. These days, many homeowners either don’t have a formal living room or – if they do – they find that they don’t use it, so give it some thought.
- Do you cook or is eating out your preferred method of taking in nourishment? If you don’t know a serving spoon from a spatula, then you certainly don’t need a large kitchen. Instead, opt for something smaller, like a galley kitchen.
- How about bedrooms? Will 3 be enough, or do you need more? Or perhaps that’s way too many. Remember, however, that more bedrooms might result in a better resale, so if you don’t need them now, you could turn one or two into something you need or want more, like an office, a music room, or a home theater. You can even take small bedrooms and turn them into closets if you need more storage space.
- Do you like yard work? Love gardening? Or is that just another task you won’t have time to complete during your busy week? Lawns and big backyards can be lovely but time-consuming. Consider whether you want that obligation or if you’d rather live in a space with no outside maintenance or with maintenance that’s taken care of by someone else. (like a condo or perhaps a townhouse or single with an HOA fee that includes mowing, etc.)
- Is your bedroom your sanctuary after a long day at work? If so, don’t settle for a tiny master bedroom when what you really want is a master suite where you can stretch out and watch TV or read, enjoy a luxurious bathroom with a fantastic shower or tub, and erase the stress of the day.
- Do you travel a lot for work or leisure? If so, you don’t likely need a large house. If you’re set on being a homeowner but are hardly ever home, consider something that requires little maintaining, like a condo. Some people see a big home as a status symbol, but if you don’t need it, why spend the money?
- Or – on the flip side - maybe you want your home to be your castle! If so, and if you can afford all the bells and whistles, go for it! It might be the first and only home you buy, especially if you see it as “perfect” for you.
- Do you love spending time outdoors, and do you enjoy outdoor recreation? If so, make a pool (or space to build a pool) your priority as well as perhaps a large deck or porch, a sizeable area for grilling, and maybe even space for a basketball court or other outdoor fixture. Remember, if the outdoor area is a priority, the home itself doesn’t need to be a mansion. You’re looking for a home to fit YOUR lifestyle, and if your lifestyle means spending lots of time outside, then that should be the priority.
- Of course, location is also crucial. Do you need to be near the office? Close to schools? Near public transportation? Choose a home in an area you can afford that is closest to where you need to be, a place where you can live your life conveniently. That might mean out in “the boonies” or in the middle of the city, depending on your likes and dislikes. But only you can make that decision.
No doubt there’s plenty to think about before taking the plunge! Contact a local realtor, who can help you answer any questions you might have and who can assist you in finding a home and community that fits your vibe. A realtor who’s well-versed in the region they serve and who knows the inventory available in that region can help you locate the perfect house; one that truly matches your personality, your wants, and your needs. Happy house hunting!