What are you looking for in a house?

Whenever we are contacted by someone interested in buying a house, the first thing we do is schedule a time to meet. It’s important to us to not only tell prospective clients about the services we provide, but also to learn about what they are hoping to find.

Buying a house is so much more than buying a structure you will live in. It’s buying a lifestyle, a community, a home. It’s deciding whether you want to live in a walkable community where the houses are close together or in the country where you can’t see your neighbors. It’s figuring out if you are excited about home improvement projects or if you would rather just unpack and start inviting people over. It’s deciding where you will raise your family or spend your retirement years. It’s everything in between.

The community: Sometimes buyers come to us with specific school districts or even a neighborhood in mind. They either live in the area already or know a lot about it and have already decided it feels like home to them. Other times, they are new to the Capital Region and have a sense of the community qualities they are looking for but don’t know where to find it. In the latter case we will ask questions, including - How important is school district ranking to you? Do you prefer a more urban or rural setting? How do you spend your free time? What sorts of amenities do you want to be near? How long of a commute do you want? Based on the answers, we can create a list of communities that are worth exploring.

The location: Drilling down on community a bit, the next step is thinking about where the house is situated. Within communities are different neighborhoods, which have different vibes. The suburban towns can have a mixture of more rural and more close-knit neighborhoods. Things to consider: Are sidewalks important? Would you consider a busier road? Are you drawn to streets where the homes look similar or do you prefer more of a hodgepodge of architectural styles?

The property: It’s important to think about the property your home sits on. Are you interested in acreage? Is gardening a hobby of yours? Do you want a fenced yard for your children and pets? Is a pool a pro or a con for you? Do you want a treed lot or a big grassy yard?

The house: All our clients receive automated updates from the Multiple Listing Service, which ensures they are alerted to all new homes that meet their criteria as soon as they hit the market. In order for this service to be effective, buyers should have a sense of the minimum number of bedrooms, bathrooms and possibly square footage that will meet their needs. We think of those as the quantitative requirements. We encourage buyers to also think about the qualitative aspects of a home that are important to them. Do you like the open floor plan concept or prefer discrete rooms? Do you prefer older homes or newer construction? Do you value amenities such as fireplaces, wood floors, first floor bedrooms? Are there styles of homes you are drawn to or that leave you cold? What are your storage needs? As we tour homes, we encourage buyers to think about how they would live in a potential house, where their furniture could go, what each room could be utilized for, etc.

While it’s unlikely that you will ultimately find a home that exactly matches your ideal, it is important to make sure that enough of your boxes are checked. Here at McSharry and Associates, we never want clients to settle for a house that isn’t a great option for them. Now that you have thought about what you want in a home, we will turn our attention to what you don’t want. Next month we will dive into what every buyer should watch out for when looking at prospective homes.