You don’t have to have your wits about you to go grocery shopping. But when it comes to buying houses, it really helps to know what you’re doing. That’s because purchasing property is one of the biggest financial decisions you make in your life.
However, shopping for a home isn’t always easy. Yes, you need to consider the location. But you also need to think in detail about what the property actually offers you. On the surface, it might seem like a great buy. But when you think about it in more detail in the context of your lifestyle, it’s not so great.
Let’s help you focus on the features of the property so that you’re not in any doubt about the things that matter, and those that don’t. The market for buyers is crazy right now, so here’s what you need to know to help you snag the home that’s best for you and your family.
Ignore The Mess And Clutter
It can sometimes be hard for us to ignore the mess and clutter in homes we look around. That’s because it has a real effect on how we perceive them. If there is washing up in the sink and dirty clothes all over the floor, it changes our perspective.
The trick here, however, is to look past this and imagine what the property will look like once all the junk is gone. This way, you’ll have a much more accurate view of what it will be like to live in the home if you decide to buy it.
There’s another advantage to looking past the mess too: not many other people will be doing it. So, you can often get a discount on the price of the house, saving you more money long-term.
Try if you can to look at the home’s objective features, such as the room size, garden space, and storage areas. Then compare this to other properties on your shortlist. What matters most is the layout, the size of the rooms, the area of the plot itself, and how it fits into your lifestyle.
Think Carefully About Windows And Lighting
Many homes built in the latter part of the 20th century were built with small, pokey windows. These reduced building costs, but they made living in this accommodation dark and dingy – not what you want. The most ideal homes have large, expansive windows, providing good lighting throughout, both upstairs and downstairs. But you should think carefully about the type of lighting that you want.
For instance, do you want to get the most sun in the morning to help you wake up? Or would you prefer to get all your light in the evenings so that you can entertain guests and so on? Most people like to live in homes that do both – provide sunshine in the morning and evening. But if you have to compromise, perhaps because of location, ask yourself which you would prefer.
Also pay attention to the kind of lighting and electrical features you prefer. If you are looking at mid-century modern style homes for sale, for instance, most will feature regular overhead lighting. However, if you are more interested in contemporary homes, many of these use recessed lighting. Each type of lighting creates a different ambiance that can affect your mood and how you feel.
Check Out The Kitchen
The kitchen is the most functional room in the house. But in many homes, it can be a little substandard. Problems include things like impractical cookers, old units, and more.
When pros shop for houses, therefore, they check that the kitchen has all the features that they need. If it doesn’t, they look elsewhere or negotiate down the asking price by pointing out the property’s limitations.
Fundamentally, you need to ask yourself whether the kitchen offers sufficient space for all your cooking needs. If you’re just a young professional or a couple, you might not need such a large kitchen, especially if you eat mainly ready meals and takeaways. However, if you run a family home and always cook from scratch, then you’ll need a much larger space with bespoke storage options.
Check also whether the kitchen has been updated recently and how much it might cost to renovate. Replacing cabinet doors is relatively inexpensive. But swapping out entire units, replacing appliances or refurbishing countertops isn’t.
Consider The Number Of Bedrooms And Bathrooms
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a property matters a great deal. The more that you have, the more functional the home will be – and the better it’ll be able to accommodate your future lifestyle.
When shopping for a home, try to look beyond your immediate needs. Instead, consider the space that you’ll need if new kids arrive. Think carefully about how many children that you would like to have in the future, if you haven’t had any already. And then consider bedroom and bathroom space that you will require. You’ll often find that you need a lot.
Bear in mind that if you decide to add rooms later, you’ll increase the total cost of living in your home. But instead of paying for the rooms you need now, you’re putting off the expense until the future.
The Size Of The Home
Today’s home sellers will attempt to present homes as beautifully as possible to push up the sale price. However, professional buyers know that superficial touches don’t really matter. What they want is a bargain.
That’s why you should always consider the overall size of the home and the floor plan. Ideally, you want something that fits your needs.
For instance, suppose that you’re a singleton looking for somewhere to crash in the evenings after you get back from a busy day. You could technically buy a six-bedroom mansion. But you’d be paying for a lot of house that you don’t need.
A better way to approach the problem is to simply reflect on what you find valuable and then use this as your benchmark instead.
Similarly, you’ll also want to think about the increased costs that come with running a larger home. Heating bills and taxes tend to rise the bigger the property gets, both of which could hamper your financial position. You’ll also have to spend more money on furniture to fill it, and extra decorations too.
The floor plan and size, however, are two of the best indicators of the future value of the home. So the larger they are, the more you’ll be able to get for the property if you ever move on in the future.
Please bear in mind, though, that value gains tend to rise more slowly as the property becomes larger. So, for instance, a 4,000 square foot home might sell for twice the price of a 2,000 square foot home, but an 8,000 square foot home will usually sell for less than twice the price of a 4,000 square foot home.
The Actual Home Site Itself
The site of a home is just the patch of land on which it is located. It is different from the location which refers to its position in relation to other objects in its vicinity.
When shopping for a home, the pros always consider the site. That’s because it makes a big difference in how it feels to live in a home.
For instance, is the house on a slope? Do you have to climb steps to get to the front door? Can the neighbours see directly into your home or garden from their windows? Is the area safe for pets and kids? Is there enough garden space or driveway for your lifestyle?
All of these questions are important. If you are worried about the site, you can ask a surveyor to come and look over it for you. They will then produce a report that you can use to assess whether the home is suitable for you. Most professional buyers seek the help of surveyors to ensure that they are making the right choice for them.
Consider The Potential
No house you look around will ever be perfect. There will always be costs and benefits of making a purchase. That’s why it is critical to always consider the potential of the property before you buy it: what it could ultimately be like once you finish improving it.
Properties that are blank slates are ideal. But so too are those that already have features and fittings that you might choose yourself. This way, you can avoid the extra expense of renovations in the future.
Also apply the same thinking to the garden. It might not be exactly what you want right now, but could you improve it to be something better in the future?