In our last post, we mentioned what to avoid when buying a Windsor house. Now, let’s think about the top things you should look for when buying a property. There are many things to consider, not just the number of bathrooms or the condition of the yard. Keep in mind, that the following items are crucial, especially for resale. And while you may not be thinking of selling your future home for many years, that day will come and you want to make sure that what you are buying today, will pay off in the future.
There is no doubt that you must purchase a home in a good location. You can change anything about a home, but you can’t change the neighbourhood or its location. So take into account where the property is located in regards to your work, noise from neighbours, traffic, access to shopping, public transportation and good schools. Are you considering a home in an up-and-coming area? Is there crime? Talk to your real estate agent if you have any concerns.
2. Physical Factors
Not only must you look at a home’s location, but look at its physical factors as well. Does the home sit on a hill? Are stairs a factor? There once was a client who purchased a home with many stairs leading to the front door which never bothered her, yet she realized that for many of her visitors, the stairs proved to be a factor, including small children. Does your home have a walkout basement and will this be a safety factor if you have kids? Or is your property situated where neighbours can look directly into your home? If there is a yard, is it suitable for children and pets?
You can buy the best home on the block, with the most wonderful curb appeal, but if it is surrounded by neighbours who have barking dogs, leave trash out, and party loudly on weekends, then this could be a problem. So be sure the neighbourhood meets your needs. Drive around the area on weekends and after work and that’s where you can see what really happens when people are home. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to others and ask their thoughts on the neighbourhood. Has the area improved or declined in recent years? Usually people are happy to tell you their stories.
4. Curb Appeal
Speaking of curb appeal, your home should reflect your lifestyle. For example, if you prefer to lie back on weekends, then maybe a home that requires lots of upkeep isn’t for you. Take into consideration that a brick home is easy to maintain. Check out the condition of the roof and make sure the landscaping is attractive and easy to maintain. Again, if you would rather be out enjoying your hobbies on the weekend, then buying a home that requires lots of maintenance may not be a good idea.
When buying a home, consider how much space you really need. Buyers often think they need a five bedroom home, but remember, while a large home can give you lots of space, it also costs more in regards to utilities and insurance. Also, it will take more furniture and money to decorate if necessary. Many parents have later found after purchasing a larger home, that children scatter throughout, so it makes it difficult to spend some quality time together. This is one reason many families downsize before the first child even leaves the nest, so think about what you really need before making a final decision on a home.
6. The Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home, so make sure you purchase a house that has a kitchen you are happy with. If you have the budget and plan on remodeling, then that’s fine, but if you must live with a kitchen that will need to be updated to be functional, yet you don’t have the money, then you may want to keep looking. However, some kitchens only need a minor facelift. Perhaps it just needs new countertops or flooring. And appliances? Those can always be replaced so don’t let the bright yellow stove frighten you.
7. Bedrooms and Bathrooms
How many bedroom and bathrooms do you really need? Again, many buyers buy a home that is way too big, but others purchase a property that is way too small. Don’t fall in love with a cozy, small cottage if you need more space. If you think you may be adding more room, consult with an architect who can give you an idea on planning, regulations and lot usage.
8. Closets and Storages
No doubt about it. We acquire lots of “stuff,” when we become homeowners. From holiday decorations, sports equipment, craft supplies and out of season clothes, you know that you will need storage in your new home. Older homes tend to have little closets and very little storage space, whereas newer homes are designed with lots of space in mind. How much storage space do you need?
9. Windows and Lighting
Do you want a home that has lots of light? Or perhaps you would like more privacy? Are there lots of trees surrounding your property that could block sunlight? Another good idea is to check out electrical outlets and light fixtures and see if these will satisfy lighting requirements.
10. Special Touches
It’s often the little things that add charm and value to a home. If elements such as moldings, hardware and a fireplace are important to you, then make sure you add to your wish list. If a property you find doesn’t have these details, will they be easy to add?
By keeping these ten steps in mind while house hunting, you will find that your search will be more successful and you will end up with a home that you will love for years to come.