General Interest

How to Choose the Right Home: 20 Questions to Ask Yourself

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House-hunting can be exciting! It’s fun to look at homes and floor plans as you imagine yourself living in your new home. How do you make sure that your excitement doesn’t exceed your needs? If you want help with how to choose the right home, here are 20 questions to ask yourself so you can identify the home features and amenities that matter most to you.

  1. What can you afford? Talk to a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know your budget limitations.
  2. How much space do you need? Assess your living needs and determine the number of rooms, estimate the necessary size of the rooms, and then calculate the total square footage. Decide on your minimum square footage so you can limit your search to homes that fit your size criteria.
  3. How long do you plan to stay in this home? It’s important to understand your needs for the time you’ll be living here. If it’s your “now and forever” home, be sure you look for features that will accommodate your lifestyle in the years ahead, like a growing family, empty nest, and aging in place.
  4. What architectural style do you like? Everyone has a design that is particularly appealing. Whether you lean toward Craftsman, Cape, or Colonial, or prefer Contemporary, Art Deco, or Mid-century Modern, explore the many architectural styles so you know which details appeal to you.
  5. Do you want an open floor plan? Fewer walls are the popular choice, promoting more connections with the people in common areas, like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. If you prefer something different, talk to a homebuilder or explore older homes.
  6. How many bedrooms do you want? Do you want a guest room? Do you need an extra bedroom that can be converted to an office or den? Think about the uses for the bedrooms, and plan accordingly.
  7. Where do you want your bedrooms? Families with young children prefer the bedrooms in close proximity, while those with teenagers or other adults living at home might want privacy for everyone. Decide if a split bedroom plan is right for you. Are steps a concern? Then a ranch-style home with bedrooms on the first floor may be just the thing for you.
  8. What do you want in your master bedroom? Do you want an owner’s suite with a large, walk-in closet and spa-like bathroom? Is a sitting area an important part of your master suite’s space? Gauge the importance of the master bedroom’s features in relation to the home itself.
  9. Do you want the full bathrooms to include both a tub and a shower? Some homeowners like a separate shower and tub. Others are fine with a combination. Think about the choice that’s right for you.
  10. What features are important in your kitchen? A kitchen remodel is one of the most costly renovations in your home, so if you can find a home with a kitchen that fulfills your vision, you will save money later. Do you want a gas or electric stove? Is a center island important? How much storage space will you need? Is the absence of granite countertops or stainless steel appliances a deal-breaker? Make a detailed list so you can use it when considering each new home.
  11. Is a formal dining room important or will a breakfast nook suit you? If you enjoy entertaining or simply prefer to have your meals in a dining room, then narrow your new home search to homes that feature a formal dining room. If your lifestyle leans toward casual dining, perhaps you can forego that space.
  12. How much closet space do you want? The amount of closet space can make or break a home sale. Think about the storage space you’ll need, and where it should be (e.g., bedroom or hall closets, mudroom, garage, attic, linen closet). Then again, it may be a good time to purge things that are no longer needed.
  13. Do you want a fireplace? Most people would agree that a crackling fire on a cold day is a welcome addition to a home. Do you need your new home to have a fireplace? And do you prefer a gas insert over a traditional wood-burning fireplace?
  14. What type of home heating fuel do you prefer? Do you want electric, natural gas, oil, or a combination? Think about home heating costs for the homes you’re viewing.
  15. What energy-efficient features should be included? Newer homes are built with energy-efficient materials and practices, as well as heating, cooling, plumbing, and windows. Calculate the energy efficiency savings and factor them into the purchase price.
  16. What flooring type do you like? You have so many flooring choices—tile, hardwood, tile that looks like hardwood, laminate, carpet, and more. If you’re pondering a home that might require replacement of the flooring, know the cost so you know how much the upgrade will be.
  17. Do you want outdoor living space? A patio, porch, or deck is essential for some homebuyers. Decide in advance on the features that area should include (e.g., French doors, outdoor kitchen, fire or water feature).
  18. Do you need enjoy mowing, raking and shoveling? For many people, outdoor maintenance chores like mowing, edging, raking leaves and shoveling snow are have-to's, not want to's. Would a new home in a community that offers exterior maintenance be something that would appeal to you?
  19. What type of exterior details do you prefer? For low maintenance, vinyl or fiber cement siding is the ideal choice, because it doesn’t require painting—just a cleaning once a year. Do you like cedar shake instead? Do you want shutters on your windows? And do you like a tiled, tin, or shingled roof?
  20. How big does your garage need to be? In addition to parking your vehicles, you might want extra space for a workshop, storage, or a man cave.

As you look at each home, compare it to the priority list you create from your answers to these questions. If low-maintenance is high on your list, consider Epcon Communities, where you can enjoy a single-family home without the need for handling exterior maintenance.