When preparing to move, many people focus on the details of the home itself — the square footage, the backyard, the number of bathrooms… but...
What Makes a House Your Forever Home?
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for a home is your stage of life. Your home should suit your lifestyle and your needs, and those needs can change over time as you age, as relationships evolve, and as children enter and exit the picture. Most people don’t spend their entire lives living in the same home, so here is what to look for when shopping for a home in each stage of life.
Ideal Homes for First-Time Homebuyers
When you’re a first-time homebuyer, It’s easy to be tempted by oversized floorplans or ornate landscaping, but the smartest thing you can do is to make sure you choose a home that’s well within your budget. Doing so will ensure that you start off your first years of home ownership unencumbered by a weighty mortgage or excessive maintenance costs. The last thing you need at this stage of life is to be burdened by your home.
When shopping for your first home, it’s also important that you keep your options open. Even if you’re not sure if you want to get married or have children, a home with more than one bedroom is a smart choice. A second or third bedroom can easily be repurposed into a home office, guest room, exercise room, or hobby space. You could also use that space to potentially take on a roommate to help offset the cost of your mortgage.
Lastly, be sure to keep resale value in mind when shopping around, because your first home may not be your last home. In order to increase the likelihood that you can sell your home for more money than you purchased it, think about location, local stores and amenities, and proximity to transportation. If you’re buying an older home, consider low-cost, high-impact renovation opportunities like replacing light fixtures or painting. All of these factors can have a big impact on resale values.
Flexible Homes for Growing Families
If you have already started a family, and especially if you are thinking about having more children, the number of bedrooms in a home will likely be your guiding principle. Consider if you want your kids to share bedrooms, and for how long that might be feasible. You should also consider playrooms, space for kids’ toys and hobbies, ease of washing machine and dryer use, and backyard or outdoor play space. An open kitchen and living area can also make it easy to keep an eye on small children while cooking and cleaning. Later on, a renovated basement is a great place for noisy teens to hang out with their friends — without disturbing their parents at night.
Location takes on new significance once children enter the picture because of school districts. Do some research to make sure you are in your preferred school district. Once kids start to get older, proximity to friends’ houses and after-school activities like sports can also have a big impact, as can the presence of sidewalks or cul-de-sacs for safe outdoor play. Having a major highway nearby can make for a fast commute to the office, but may affect noise levels in your home or present a safety hazard.
Right-Sized Homes for the Retirement Years
As children leave home and retirement age approaches, homes with smaller square footage that require less maintenance are much more appealing. The same can be said of homes with flexible floorplans. For example, having the option of moving your master bedroom to the ground floor can make it much easier to age in place. A home with no-step access or an entrance that could easily accommodate a wheelchair ramp can also ensure you can stay in your home well into your twilight years. In bathrooms, look for the space to install grab bars and consider how easy it is to enter and exit the shower or bathtub. On staircases, be sure the handrails are solid and extend for the entire length of the stairs. Furthermore, proximity to medical care and family support can also play a big role in making a home well-suited for the retirement years. Isolation can have a significant effect on the mental health and wellbeing of seniors, so think about how easy it will be to stay plugged into your social circle.
While you may not own the same home for 50 years, ideally, you can find a home that will see you through more than one stage of life. A bedroom that was once occupied by your young child could later accommodate visiting grandchildren or, later on, a live-in health aide. The backyard in which you installed a swingset could later be renovated to accommodate a deck for outdoor relaxation. The proximity to the town center that once made it easy for your children to ride their bikes to the store could later make it easy for you to pick up your medicine without having to get in the car. With some smart shopping and strategic thinking, you may find that a home you once thought would only last you 5 to 10 years ends up lasting you several decades.
Looking for the perfect home for your current stage of life and beyond? Take a look at TimberCraft’s available homes, where there’s something for everyone.
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