Before you make the biggest investment of your life – buying a home - it’s wise to consider the things you really want. This doesn’t include the luxuries, like a giant en suite or a huge backyard. It’s simply the things you feel are important for your family and your situation. From storage space to location, here are a few things to consider.

1. Kitchen Counter Space and Storage

As any good real estate agent will tell you, it’s the kitchen that sells a home. Find a kitchen that will give you the counter space and storage to fit your needs. If you like to cook, look for a space with a bar or island to afford you easy accessibility for prep and movement. Plenty of cupboard space and a large pantry are also great.

2. Space to Personalize

A building won’t make the transition from house to home until you put up some personalized touches. Imagine that when you’re shopping. As you walk from room to room at a showing, visualize your home décor items or family photos on the walls before making a purchase.

3. Location, Location, Location

Even if you have to compromise on some of the other amenities, the location of the home is typically most important. It’s the one thing you can’t change about the home after you buy it. For that reason, it’s essential that you research listings in the area of your choosing to make sure you can afford your must-haves where you want to live.

4. Efficiency

Don’t ever underestimate the cost of living after a home purchase. Some homes have extremely outdated electricity, heating, and plumbing systems, which will be unpleasant to deal with down the road. If that’s the case in a home you’re considering, recognize that you’ll be required to pay through the nose on these amenities if they’re not efficient - which might not be something you can afford alongside a house payment.

5. Smart Home Automation Abilities

The future of home security, entertainment systems, thermostat settings, and more is all centered on smart home technology. Even if you haven’t made the investment yet, it’s a good idea to find a home that you know can adapt to these smart systems in order to prepare yourself for the future.

6. HVAC System

Radiator and floor board heating and cooling systems are a thing of the past. Not only are they inefficient, but malfunctions can lead to fires and burns. If at all possible, find a home that has central heating and air for ultimate safety and ideal temperatures.

7.  Yard Space

You might not care about yard space now, but you might in the future. Even if you don’t prioritize having a lawn or backyard, you should consider the landscaping. If you have no interest in taking care of a yard, seek a low-maintenance alternative with drought-resistant plants and wood chips. These are all things you can change once you’ve purchased the home, but it’s much easier if the home comes that way.

8. Separate Living and Entertainment Areas

Most people don’t think about this when they purchase a home, but it’s always a good idea to have separate places for entertainment and entertaining. Your entertainment area will be where you set up your television, gaming systems, and any other hookups; and your entertaining area should be a place to sit when guests come to visit or when you want to sit quietly without distraction. It’s easy to overlook this feature, but you certainly won’t regret it.

9. Bedroom and Bathroom Needs

Of course, begin by counting the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll require to fit the needs of your family. A family of one might be fine in a studio home, but it won’t work so well for larger groups. Also, consider the space and location of each. Many older homes have a half-bath off the kitchen or sitting area, which is awkward to say the least. Consider whether you can live without an en suite, or if that’s a necessity. There’s often a sizeable difference in price when you take an en suite off your list of must-haves.

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