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5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself When House Hunting
This week I was showing a property, and the kitchen looked gorgeous in the photos. It was nicely renovated, but when we arrived, we discovered that it had only a cooktop and a microwave - no oven! The couple looking at the home said that didn't really matter to them, because they mostly used their slow cooker, made salads, or went to restaurants. I wouldn't want that, but we're not searching for a home for me. It did get me thinking: why am I able to make good decisions when I buy a property?
If you know me, you also know that I've lived in more than ten homes. I've experienced a large suburban family home, an older, city property, a large country property with an acre of land and a view of the ocean. I've even lived (and still do!) in a tall-tower downtown condo. I'm not one of those people who takes ages to find the right house, but it's not just because I'm good at making decisions. It's because I've thought about the benefits I want from the place where I live. Any house can become a home if it has the right benefits. But many Real Estate Sales People, and many Buyers, focus on the features.
Features are on those "feature sheets" you may have seen at open houses. They're also part of the check list you've probably considered. How many bedrooms do I want? Do I want stairs? A yard? How many bathrooms? How many square feet? And the thing you should consider last of all - the price. Because if you don't get the benefits right, that bargain will be no kind of bargain at all.
Benefits are about how you want to live in your home. How it makes you feel. How it will bring you joy, or convenience, or comfort. So to understand the benefits, explore these lines of questioning. They'll let you really dream about what your dream home needs to do for you, not just what you want it to look like. For example, I know that wherever I live, I need to be able to host a big family dinner (at least 20 people), there needs to be a place for a Christmas tree, and Grandma's corner china cabinet always has to fit, for me to feel "at home".
- What role does food play in my life? Do I love to cook? What is my favourite meal to make? Who is there? Am I cooking for one, two, or twenty? Or do I hope to eat as many meals as possible at a sweet neighbourhood bistro?
- Am I a traveller? (OK, I know that none of us are travelling very much at the moment, but ultimately, are you?) Do you want the convenience of a lock-and-leave property, that you know will be watched over, safe, and secure, while you are off seing the world? Or are you a real homebody who will be looking at your space and surroundings day in, and day out?
- What are my very favourite holidays? How do I want to celebrate those? Do I go home to Mom and Dad's house? Or am I the Mom or the Dad? Is there a big meal? How many people come? Do I need room for decorations (like a Christmas tree) or a wonderful Iftar feast of food after fasting during Ramadan? Or maybe Halloween is your favourite, and it wouldn't be the same without a place for scary decorations and kids trick or treating at the door.
- Who lives with me, and what do I need to make them comfortable in the space? Do I have kids, with strollers, toys, and places to sleep? Or a dog, large or small, who needs a place to run? Or perhapps my elderly parents don't live with me, but they're far enough away that when they visit, I want them to stay in my home, not in a guest suite or a hotel.
- Last of all, and wow, has this ever become important lately: do I need a space for work at home? It's one thing to get out the laptop at the dining room table now and again, but if you're doing it day in and day out (and possibly adding a partner into the mix who is doing the same), then you need a place where you can work undisturbed, where the wifi is fabulous, and where you can close it all up when it isn't work time, so you can enjoy your life without interruptions.
So when you're looking for your next home, whether it's a tiny urban pied-a-terre, or a palatial estate, a balmy beach house, or a quirky character home, make your list of what it needs to have - and then give some deep thought to how you want to live in it, and how it will make you feel! If you're ready to search for your dream home already, click here.