June is Homeownership Month.
Buying a home is a huge decision. In fact, for most people it’s the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. So, you want to make sure you’re investing in a space that’s right for you–at a price that’s right for you, too. Today’s real estate market can be very competitive for buyers trying to check off their wishlist of home needs and wants. To maximize your chance of success, get organized before you start looking at homes and make a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves. Everyone wants and needs different things from a living space, but we put this list together to give you some ideas. Here’s a possible new home buyer’s checklist of what to look for in a new home. When you’re ready to apply for a mortgage loan, we can help with that, too!
Start with the basics…
Before you start dreaming of refinished hardwood floors or a chef’s kitchen, get clear about the size and number of bedrooms you need. For example, are you buying the house as a single person, a couple, or a family with one or more kids? Do you work from home? If the house is more than one floor, do you want to have a first-floor bedroom or bathroom? What kind of square footage are you looking for? For example, the median size of a single-family home in the U.S. is about 1,600 square feet.
Then add conveniences
Once you’ve specified your basic requirements, it’s time to think about the conveniences that would make your day-to-day life a little easier. For example, you may want to add some of the following to your buying a new home checklist:
- If you have a family that produces a lot of laundry, or want to age in place, a first-floor laundry room can be a nice amenity.
- Central air conditioning will be important for the hot and humid weather. Buying a house that already has a modern HVAC system will save you from the large cost of installing one.
- A first-floor bedroom is nice for people of any age who want to stay in their house through retirement.
- Do you want to have a powder room for guests to use so you don’t have to worry about keeping the full bathroom spic and span?
- Outside of the house, are there certain amenities you’d like to live close to or within walking distance of? For example, schools, libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.
- Open concept floor plans can be appealing for entertaining.
- A walk-in closet provides ample storage space so you can keep your bedroom tidy and organized.
- Some people prefer hardwood floors for their easy cleaning and resilience.
- A mudroom space is convenient for on-the-go families with lots of shoes, coats, and gear to store.
- An in-law suite may be a necessity if you’re planning to care for aging parents.
What about the kitchen?
For many homeowners, the kitchen is the heart of the house. Both a practical space in which to prepare food, as well as a place to entertain guests or hang out as a family, you should make a wishlist of what you’re looking for in a kitchen. For example:
- Side-by-side sinks or one large single sink? Apron sink or traditional?
- How much pantry space do you need?
- Do you want an eat-in kitchen? Breakfast nook? Center island?
- Granite or quartz countertops
- Range oven and convection oven
- Stainless steel appliances
- Tile flooring
- Task lighting
Of course, some of these features, such as new appliances, could be added after you buy the home. But if that’s your plan, make sure you budget for the cost of whatever improvements you want to make on top of the home price.
Don’t forget about bathrooms
Next to a kitchen, bathrooms tend to be the second most expensive type of renovation project for homeowners. So, make a list of the features you want or need in the bathroom(s). Then you can decide if it’s worth waiting to find exactly what you want or better to renovate after moving in. Bathroom features to consider include:
- Bathtub or walk-in shower?
- Vanity storage space
- One sink or two?
- Design style
- Linen closet
- Granite, marble, or quartz vanity top
- Ceramic tile walls and flooring
- Whirlpool bath
- Heated floors
- Exhaust fan with heat vent
As all homeowners know, the cost of the home doesn’t end after closing day. Utility bills can be a sizable monthly expense, especially if you’re moving into a larger space and/or an older home. So, consider energy efficient features to control your costs:
- Newer, energy efficient appliances
- Proper insulation
- Multi-pane, vacuum-sealed windows
- Caulking around doors and windows is in good condition
- EnergyStar-certified LED lights use at least 75% less energy than standard bulbs and last as much as 25 times longer.
- Solar panels
- Newer HVAC system
- Ceiling fans to compliment central air conditioning
Living Your Best Life
In addition to practical concerns, you want your home to be a fun place to hang out, relax, and enjoy family and friends. Some amenities you’ll want to consider include:
- Front porches are a perfect gathering spot and convenient way to enjoy the outdoors. The right front porch can add a ton of value to your home as well.
- Outdoor lighting adds not only to your home’s aesthetic quality but is also an important part of your living space’s safety and security.
- Who doesn’t love a good patio space? Perfect for grilling, fire pits, sidewalk chalk–you name it!
- And, of course, a lawn offers a perfect place to play with your children or pets, enjoy sports and games, or simply put some distance between your home and busy roads. A proper lawn can add a great deal of value to your property. Just consider whether you’ll want to mow and maintain it yourself or hire a lawn service.
Apply For a Mortgage Loan From Peoples Bank!
There are as many ideal homes as there are people in this world, but we hope our home buying checklist gives you some things to consider. When you’ve finished your new home buyers checklist and are ready to explore your financing options, our experienced team of Mortgage Experts is here to help you purchase the home of your dreams! Learn more about Mortgage Loans, contact us, or apply for a mortgage online!