Buyer's Guide » Finding a Home That Suits Your Lifestyle

Finding a Home That Suits Your Lifestyle

When choosing the right home, it's easy to be overcome by a beautiful setting or a unique architectural style, overlooking the practical details of size, layout and functionality.

Before you begin your search, consider what you like and dislike about your current home. Then compile a list of all the characteristics you want in a home - both practical details and cosmetic features. These characteristics should reflect your current lifestyle as well as your plans for the future. Your REALTOR® will review your list and determine how best to help you meet your needs, given your price range and the current market conditions.

Here are some points to consider when creating your house-hunting wish list:

Eating areas and kitchen. First, think about the amount of time you spend in your kitchen and the workspace you will require. Is a separate dining room needed for entertaining, in addition to an eating nook?

Light and exposure Generally speaking, large south-facing windows produce lots of light in winter but can make your home very hot in summer. Consider which rooms you would like to receive the most light during the morning versus the afternoon.

Outdoor space. You may be enchanted by the idea of a garden, but think carefully about the amount of upkeep involved. Would a deck or patio be suitable?

Electricity and wiring. Will special wiring such as a high-speed data line for Internet access or a security system need to be installed? Look around your current home and think about how many electrical sockets, cable and telephone outlets you use. Although these can be added after you move in, they can be expensive to install.

Renovations. If you're considering buying a "fixer-upper," think about how much work you are realistically capable of handling yourself, and how much disruption to your lifestyle you can put up with during the renovations. Get some cost and time estimates before making an offer. Remember, there's a big difference between cosmetic renovations (such as changing flooring and cabinetry) and structural alterations (such as removing walls).

Other things to investigate include number of bedrooms required and available parking for you and your guests. Also ensure that there is ample storage space for all your possessions.

Of course there are many other factors to consider when a choosing a home - your REALTOR® will help you evaluate your needs further. By investing time and thought in choosing your property, you can find a home with the most functional fit for your lifestyle.