5 Important Features to Consider When Buying a Home

By: Nef Cortez

With so many questions to consider when buying a home, a buyer can get
muddled in the myriad of details involved. However, the following are
five general pointers that a home buyer should examine about a home's
physical features as you do your home shopping and compare different
properties during the home buying process.

1) House Size

In each residential neighborhood, houses will vary in total square
footage and the number of rooms; however, they should not be too
different. Since the 50's, house size has almost doubled from an
average of 980 square feet to an average of 2,000 square feet. When
determining market value, the homes adjacent to the house you are
interested in are the most important. If most of the nearby houses
are smaller than your house, they can act as a drag on the price
appreciation of your house. Remember if resale value is an important
consideration, you should not buy the largest house in the
neighborhood.

Furthermore, if you choose to buy a small or medium house for the
neighborhood, the larger homes will help raise your home's value.

2) The Kitchen

Family activity is usually centered around the kitchen, so this room
has become the most important room of the house. As a general rule,
homes with larger kitchens are more desirable especially if they are
equipped with modern appliances. With today's open floor plans, the
dining room and breakfast nook should be located adjacent to the
kitchen. In newer houses, floor plans usually place the family room
close to the kitchen as well.

If there is easy access to the back yard, this is an even greater
plus, as there will be occasions for barbecues and outdoor
entertaining
.
3) Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Three and four bedroom houses are the most popular among homebuyers,
so if you can stick to buying in that range you will have more
potential buyers when it comes time to resell.

There should always be at least a minimum of two bathrooms in a house,
preferably at least two and a half. At the very minimum, look for
houses that have one bathroom that is accessible to guests or will be
the one shared by the other bedrooms, and one for the master bedroom.

4) Storage - Closets, Garages and Laundry

Walk-in closets are extremely desirable for the master bedroom. For
the rest of the house, just be sure there is plenty of closet space.
Don't forget to check for storage space for linens and towels. Many
linen closets are placed in hallways near bathrooms.
A garage will add to the resale value and you should always make sure
to get at least a two-car garage. Lately, three-car garages have
become desirable in some areas of the country. In addition, it should
be a short trek between the garage to the kitchen so that hauling
groceries in from the car does not become a chore that you will dread.
The laundry facilities should be located somewhere convenient on the
main floor of the house, but not in a place that it will create an
eyesore.

5) Lot and Landscaping

Even though most real estate value is usually concentrated in the
structure itself, the lot is important, too. Make sure that the lot
is as level as possible. Assuming the property is in a typical
neighborhood, look for a house that is on a lot that is rectangular.
Try to stay away from odd shaped lots or oddly situated lots.
Yard sizes are smaller in modern homes than in older homes, but there
should still be a decently sized front and back yard.

Remember that overly landscaped properties will usually be priced at a
premium which you may not be able to recover when you sell. You will
get your best value if you choose the house that is moderately
landscaped or under-landscaped for the area. You can always improve
the landscaping during your ownership by improving the lawn and adding
bushes and trees.

As a general rule, like most things that you will buy in life, houses
have their pros and cons. You will be much more satisfied with your
purchase if you concentrate on the positive aspects of a home that are
on your "most desirable features" checklist or those that will improve
your resale value. Other less important features can be
satisfactorily and creatively addressed in the course of your home
ownership

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