A smart real estate agent told me to begin a house search by listing the things I wanted. You are extremely unlikely to get everything you want in a single home, but you can use the list to help make sure you get the things you want the most. You can also use the list to identify the things you can change in a home to be like you want—some things are much easier to change than others. For instance, if you want your bedroom to be painted yellow, if you own the place, painting it yellow is usually fairly easy. If you will be renting, you may want to check in advance whether you will be allowed to paint the colors you like. The following questions and lists are intended to help you identify your preferences. They may not be on your list.
Do you have some features to add? (Go ahead and add them below or discuss them on the talk page.)
Think about the following:
- Do you like to be in the center of all the activity? Or is it important to you that your home be a peaceful sanctuary? How close do you want to be to night clubs, athletic stadiums, downtown, arts centers, museums, specialty shopping?
- In which rooms of a house do you spend the most time? Does your family tend to congregate in the kitchen (and maybe you want a large one)? Is a game space important? Are there rooms you never use?
- Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Is deck space or lots of doors and windows making the outdoors seem nearer important to you?
- Budget - upkeep - power etc.
- Do you like to decorate? to spend time fixing your home up in different ways?
- What kind of people do you like to live near? Would it bother you if very few (or none) of your neighbors had small children? Do you want to live in a community where the social life tends to center around ... the night life? sports? education? religion? arts?
- Does it have or is it near things the residents will need? If there are children, is the school system good? If you have a dog, are there good places to walk? If the residents are older, is the a good retirement center nearby?
- Is it convenient to other things that are important to you? (See the list under "location" below.)
- distance from the grocery store
- general safety
- distance from schools
- availability of public transportation
- sidewalks, "walkability"
- home values in the area
- distance to religious, art, sports, work-out, hobby or other interest related places that matter to you
- is it a retirement community? are children allowed?
- is it trending toward young professionals?
- is it people who care about the arts, sports, education? (Does the community spend community funds and taxes on the things you care about?)
Size of the house
- square footage
- space devoted to...
- size of the rooms
- amount of storage
- number of bedrooms
- number of bathrooms
Layout within the home
- location of (or existence of) a laundry room
- kitchen entrance (convenience for bringing in groceries or taking out the garbage)
- is there a place (mudroom?) to leave coats, jackets, boots and other "outerware" near an entrance/exit?
- a place to support your hobbies or other activities (Is there an appropriate place to put musical instruments and for music practice?)
- is there a place for homework or studying where other household activities won't interfere?
- Especially if you have residents with limited mobility or health issues that may affect home use. For instance, does anyone have trouble using stairs? How tall are the residents?
- wheelchair accessibility
- stair and pool safety for small children
- ability to reach shelves and cabinets
Yard or grounds
- size of the yard
- will the yard accommodate the pets you want?
- if you don't want to spend much time on yard work, is it an easy to care for yard (or is there a service)?
- would it annoy or delight you if your neighbors decided to turn their front lawn into a wildflower garden?
- do you have allergies to consider?
- are there neighborhood regulations restricting outbuildings, such as sheds, or fencing?
Wiring and plumbing
- will the wiring support today's electronics, can you put the TV, computer, etc. where you want?
- are there sockets outside where you might want them? (for holiday lights, etc.)
- is there a faucet for a lawn hose to use in watering the garden or yard?
- distance from parks
- distance from nightclubs
- street lighting
- distance from a hospital
- distance from a fire department (may also affect insurance rates)
- distance from the police department
- average response time of emergency services
Amount of socializing in the neighborhood
- are there neighborhood get togethers?
- do people tend to know their neighbors?
- is there a neighborhood agreement or contract that you will be required to follow?
- are appliances included?
- do you like whichever appliances are included?
- what's the age of the appliances? (how much longer are they likely to last and do the warranties still apply?)