September 21, 2020
What are the things to keep in mind when determining home needs?
As you begin to think about buying a home, there can be so much to think about it can be overwhelming. If it's your first home, there are likely a lot of things to consider that you've never even thought of. We've compiled this checklist of items to kickstart your thinking. Feel free to print this out, check off things you've mentally planned for, or cross off items you don't care about or may not be applicable. We've left some write-in spaces to add your own thoughts and needs.
This list is by no means complete, and is meant as a starting point to help assist in determining what you're looking for and what's important for your needs. Consider ranking each of these items in order of importance to you, while limiting what is extremely important to a number around five. This will allow you, and perhaps your real estate agent, to best understand what’s most important to you.
Location, Location, Location
It may sound cliché, but even clichés are there for a reason. The location of your home is critically important.
Overall location of home — city and state
Location compared to your employment
Do you need mass transit?
Traffic patterns and time to work
Near good schools
Near family and friends
Stadiums or arenas for sporting events
Access to mountains, beaches, or parks
Safety of neighborhood
Review a crime database of the area
Review sex offenders in the area
Neighborhood watch or patrol
Natural disaster considerations
Exits in case of emergencies
Housing Needs to Consider:
Location of home on the lot, or within complex
Location of the house in relation to the sun — where is the sun in the morning and evening?
Winter concerns for access to home in inclement weather
Slope of property
Size of property
Type of pets allowed
Room to roam
Yard maintenance needs and costs
Age of home and potential repairs over the next seven years
Style of the home and around the neighborhood
Overall floor plan — Is it open air? Do you need more rooms?
Number of bedrooms needed today and within 5-7 years
Number of bathrooms needed today and within 5-7 years
Location of bedrooms — do you need a master on the first floor?
Location of bathrooms and access
Do you need extra rooms like playrooms, exercise, or other?
Storage needs, or access to storage
Number of closets
Outdoor living areas
Location of the sun compared to outside areas
Is a dining room necessary?
Do you need full baths, half baths?
Shower versus tub
Ingress to the home — Are the steps up or down? Is there an elevator?
Size of home in square footage
Cost to heat and cool
HOA and costs
Home warranties covering major items like appliances and HVAC
HVAC system and age
Condition of the windows
Finishing touches like molding, trim, or stairs
Plumbing fixtures and condition
Flow of the home
Special needs for wheelchair or access
Number of floors
Access to laundry
Condition of the flooring — does it need to be replaced?
How does your current furniture fit in this layout? Do you need more or new furniture?
Appliances and age
Style of appliances
Layout or flow of kitchen
Location of sink by window
Gas or electric
Soft close drawers and cabinets
Access to systems like plumbing, HVAC, electrical
Condition of house
Additional structure like sheds
Trees and maintenance
Pests or insects in the area
Any noise issues with location — trains, flight paths, schools
Other Things to Consider
Condition of the overall neighborhood houses
Neighbors keeping up with their homes
Local economy strength
Is this your “forever home”?
Will this home last you 5-7 years?
Growing old in the home and special needs
Young children in the home and safety