7 Things to Look For When Searching for Homes

7 Things to Look For When Searching for Homes

  • Claire O'Connor

Size Matters

If you’re home searching, it’s likely that you already have an idea of what size home you’re looking for. However, size can be further broken down by a lot more than just the available square footage. Think about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want in your future home, and look for ones that fit this criterion. You should also consider the size of each room to see if it’s right for you. Ideally, you find a home with the right amount of square footage overall, as well as in each bedroom, bathroom, and other room. For example, the kitchen might be too small for your liking in comparison. Or maybe bedroom size is important to you. If that’s the case, make sure you are paying special attention to size and layout to determine if the space is ideal for you and your family.
 

The Kitchen

 
While it’s important to inspect every room of the home, the kitchen is typically used the most and where people tend to congregate. For this reason, it’s one of those rooms that you might want to pay extra attention to when you’re viewing a new house. For a lot of people, it will be high on their priorities list. In addition, the kitchen has also been shown to be the room that determines the most resale value. so it inherently has large importance attached to it.
 
One thing to check for is the pace in the kitchen, which is always nice to have, especially if you have a family or like to entertain with friends. When viewing the new house, try to think about how you would use the kitchen most. Imagine yourself preparing food, enjoying a glass of wine, or entertaining family and friends. By doing this, you can determine whether this kitchen is right for you.
 
Second to size, you want to make sure the kitchen has all the appliances you need or if there is room to.  potentially add more. Is the kitchen renovated to your style and needs?. Would you want to redesign the layout?? Make a checklist of what you want out of your kitchen, and keep this in mind when you’re looking at a house. The kitchen doesn't have to have everything in the home you’re viewing. You could add in appliances, a kitchen island, or even more cabinets. However, if you want the kitchen to be an open plan, this might be a deal-breaker. But if you want to replace countertops or add a new smart appliance, you can easily update these once you move in.
 

Location is key

The home itself is essential, but considering the location of the home you're viewing is important. Of course, you want to love the home you're going to live in, but you should also love where you live and what the area offers. There's a reason why some people say location is everything. Once you've moved in, you'll want to leave your house to dine, shop, do family activities, and live your daily life.
 
Considering the neighborhood and what it offers is always a good idea. Is walkability important? Are there restaurants, shops, and entertainment options that suit your taste? If you have a family, you want to consider the school system. Maybe you're considering a new city where you can explore different neighborhoods. Make sure to check out each region to see which ones would fit best for you and the lifestyle that you want to live. Then, you can start to look for suitable homes in those neighborhoods.
 

Does the Home Fit Your Lifestyle?

When you buy a home, you want it to be a place you know you'll love to live in daily. So you must try to imagine yourself in the house. What would life be like every day in the space with your loved ones?
 
In addition to size, kitchen, and the neighborhood, inspect both the outdoor areas and indoor rooms.  You could find a beautiful home, but it might be better to keep searching if it doesn't have all the features that suit your lifestyle. For example, if you love to garden, does the home have enough space or a specific area in the yard you can grow your vegetables? Or, if you love entertaining, does the house have the amenities for this? Is there a seating area in the backyard or a dining room to seat all the guests you'd want to have?
 
When looking to make a new purchase, make sure to consider your interests and the lifestyle you want to have, and keep this in mind when you're looking for a new home!
 

Move-in Readiness

Whether or not a home is move-in ready can make a huge difference in how much work is involved with moving from the perspective of finance, time, and stress.  So when you’re viewing homes, determine if the house would need renovations and how much work it would need if you were to buy it. This can help make the moving process smooth as you prepare for the move and make the necessary repairs and renovations.
 
Be on the lookout for any damages on the inside or outside of the home. The most common repairs new homeowners need to make include:
 
  • Leaky faucets and pipes
  • Dents in the flooring 
  • Running toilets
  • Cracked or peeling siding
  • Nail pops
  • Drywall patching
  • Bathroom caulking
  • Clogged drains
These repairs, even seemingly small ones, can add up financially. So it’s good to know what needs to be repaired to be move-in ready and what you're comfortable with. For example, do you think the carpeting needs to be replaced, or does the house need a fresh coat of paint?
 
For more significant repairs, the home inspection process will outline the physical structure and systems within the home. This usually takes place right after the seller accepts an offer from the buyer.  If the house requires extensive repairs, you may decide to cancel the sale if you can’t negotiate a lower purchase price or reach an agreement with the seller.
 

The Home’s Exterior

 
The outside of the home is equally important to consider as the inside! Your first impression will be of the home’s curb appeal. Chances are you have already seen photos online and liked the house, but the viewing experience in person could be completely different. Besides looking at the paint, you want to inspect the following:
 
  • The yard, hedges, and flower beds for maintenance
  • Can the trash bins be hidden from street view? 
  • Check if the gutters are cleared. 
  • Peeling, chipping paint on porch railings, windows, and doors. 
  • Power washed driveway and walkways
  • Hidden electrical fixtures
Beyond the home's aesthetics, you want to think about the required maintenance if you were to move there. The day-to-day, more practical side of living somewhere is essential to consider.
 

Think About Storage Space

Extra storage space is nice to have in a home to keep organized. Because, as you know, it requires little effort to accumulate more items over time, such as clothing, shoes, jackets, toys, kitchen tools and gadgets, electronics, books, etc.   To determine whether a home has enough storage for you, look for closet space, drawers, shelving space, cupboards, or even space in a garage.
 
Ask yourself a few simple questions before you start your home search. What are the oversized items that need to be stored?  How much space will you need for your clothing, kitchen accessories, family mementos, and hobbies?  Consider your current storage needs and what you may need in the future when looking at new homes.
 

Ready to Look for a Home?

Are you in the market for a home? Now that you know what to look for while you’re searching for a new home, you can put these tips into practice and make this process easier. If you’re looking for Brentwood real estate, Santa Monica real estate, or Pacific Palisades real estate, contact Claire O'Connor. With ten years of professional experience, she can help you identify the qualities you need and find the most ideal home to suit your lifestyle.

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