Updated: Jan 29
I had been in residential real estate for several years before I got my commercial real estate degree. I have shown my clients numerous homes before the pandemic. What should be our focus in looking for a residential property? Looking for a residential property is just like looking for a spouse. Despite what my husband keeps telling me, there is no such thing as a perfect spouse. Similarly, it is unlikely that you can find the perfect home on the market unless you build it yourself. When you are looking for a residential property, you should consider what is important to you and your family.
First, is an open floor plan your priority? From my view, I suggest that my clients consider the floor plan first. Everything other than the floor plan of the house is easy change, but the floor plan is extremely hard to change. Even if it is possible, it can take an enormous amount of time and money to make floor plan changes. Many times, floor plan changes will interfere with or delay occupancy of the home. Sometimes, you cannot make major floor plan changes because the structure of the house and its supporting systems cannot be modified. I have a friend who bought a home that is over 3000 sq. ft. It is a huge home. The master bedroom is downstairs, and the kitchen and dining room are all downstairs. There are four bedrooms upstairs. Because this couple are old and don’t want to go upstairs, they jammed everything in their downstairs bedroom and put a desk in their kitchen, and now they have a combination combined kitchen/office. I was joking with them that now they actually have a 1500 sq. ft. home because they never use their upstairs space. For people who have small children, if the master bedroom is downstairs, it is hard for them to take care of their children. Most families with young children would like to have the master bedroom on the same floor as their children’s bedrooms.
Second, are the kitchen and bathrooms important to you? Some people like to cook; they spend time with their family together in the kitchen and teach their children to cook. They consider the kitchen to be especially important to their family. They want a kitchen open to the dining room and family room that allows them to spend time with their children to cook and eat and watch their favorite shows. A huge kitchen island seems a must have nowadays in modern homes. What is important in a bathroom? For elderly and people who have small children, a bathtub is much more convenient for them. Some homes include a makeup table in the bathroom. However, that is not a great place for a makeup table because after you shower the bathroom is hot and humid and is not a good place to put on your make up. I have a friend who custom built their home and they put a separate makeup room behind their bathroom. I thought that is a clever design. I do not think the majority of people have this luxury choice; we may have to put a makeup table in our bedrooms. That is why a spacious bedroom gives you flexibility to enjoy this luxury. A good closet space should be on your list too. You can store all of your junk in your closet and make your home look neat and clean. However, if you don’t have a big closet, you can always turn one of your bedrooms into a closet. Nowadays, many new homes include a mudroom for children or adults to store their coats, backpacks, shoes, etc., which is a convenient and thoughtful feature.
Third, is a home office or outdoor space important to your family? Nowadays because new technology provides us so much convenience and luxury with less expense, we can work anywhere and anytime. You can just get up and wear your pajamas to work, so more and more people are looking for a good-sized home office. Some people like to get up to do yoga or exercise before they start their day. Many people now turn their living room or outside patio into an exercise space. For people who have children, outdoor space is always an important feature for them. Children like to spend time outside to play with their friends. In some subdivisions, the houses have small yards, but there are nearby parks with large open play areas. It allows the neighborhood to share the outdoor space and enjoy outdoor living together. It is a popular choice for people who have children.
What is important to you and your family for a home? An open floor plan with a kitchen and spacious family room, a nice bathroom with a spacious closet, a home office or an outdoor space always should be on your list. Home is the place where we spend the most time with our family. No matter if your home is big or small, you can always turn it into a beautiful and unique place to enjoy family time.