Femion Mezini's Blog
For generations, people have been saying that "the kitchen is the heart of the home." The meaning of that expression is open to interpretation, but just about everyone would agree that kitchens are generally a relaxing place where family and friends congregate.
Although there are a lot of things to consider when searching for just the right house that meets your needs, the size of your next kitchen and its practicality are important things to keep in mind. If you enjoy hosting dinner parties and family gatherings, a large kitchen with plenty of seating room and counter space is highly desirable.
In addition to the fact that you need space to prepare and serve food, you may also need room to put out snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. If your objective is to serve meals "buffet style" or "family style," then you'll also want to line up the necessary supplies, such as plates, napkins, utensils, cups, and condiments.
While a large, open kitchen is not absolutely essential to the success of a dinner party or holiday gathering, it does provide convenience, food serving options, and more mingling space. If you end up buying a home with a narrow galley kitchen, then you'll have to rely more on adjoining rooms for entertaining guests and serving food.
On a day-to-day basis, spacious eat-in kitchens are usually much more practical for busy families, too. Otherwise, space is at a premium and family members may find themselves bumping into each other as they prepare meals, wash cookware, or put away dishes. As you can imagine (or have experienced first-hand), a claustrophobic kitchen does not lend itself to family harmony! On the other hand, having a place where family members can comfortably sit across from each other at meal time lends itself to open communication and, hopefully, better family relations.
Other characteristics of an "ideal kitchen" might include energy-efficient appliances, a floor that's both attractive and spill resistant, and sufficient lighting in food preparation and eating areas. If homes you're considering don't have dimmer switches, that's a relatively simple and inexpensive feature to install -- preferably with the help of an electrician. Having the ability to soften the intensity of light will enable you to decrease the room's brightness and transition to a "relaxation mode" at the end of the day. Being able to turn the brightness back up will come in handy for paying bills at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper (if you don't access it online), helping your kids with their homework, or playing cards or board games.
Whether your kitchen requirements include stainless steel appliances, a quartz or granite island with a gas stove, or just plenty of room for a large kitchen table and chairs, your real estate agent will work with you to find the home that best matches your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
The last thing you want to experience after purchasing a new home is "buyer's remorse!" With that in mind, it pays to look at all angles when house shopping. Although emotions and first impressions are going to play a big role in your home-buying decisions, a thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons of every home that appeals to you will help ensure you're making the best decision for you and your family.
While your real estate agent will help you find houses for sale that have the necessary number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, you'll need to make sure they're fully aware of your "wish list," your desired lifestyle, and your personal preferences. Here a few examples:
Commuting distance: Unless you've found your dream home that's absolutely perfect in every way (if such a thing exists), a long commute to work, every day, could dampen your enthusiasm about an otherwise great house. Since everyone has a difference tolerance for long commutes, there's no hard-and-fast rule for that facet of home buying. Having a comfortable vehicle, listening to books on tape, or streaming your favorite music or radio programs can help make a long commute more acceptable -- even enjoyable. If you take a train to work, every day, you also have the option of catching up on your reading, preparing for meetings, or even meditating. So while a long commute does not have to be a "deal breaker," it is an important factor worth pondering.
Privacy level: This is another aspect of home ownership that's based on personal preferences. However, if you realize -- after the fact -- that you don't have enough privacy from neighbors or passersby, then you might end up feeling less-than-satisfied with your new home. Fortunately, you can compensate for lack of privacy by installing fences or planting privacy hedges, but the best laid plans are generally formulated before you make a purchase offer. If you consider privacy to be a high priority, always take notice of a house's distance from neighbors and streets.
Leaky basements: Although there are solutions for wet basements, there's a lot of expense and inconvenience associated with having to implement them. Excessive moisture can not only damage stored furniture, books, and other belongings, but it's also a fertile breeding ground for mold and mildew. A qualified home inspector will generally point out issues like that, but it's much better to notice them before you get to that advanced stage in the home-buying process.
An experienced real estate agent who represents your interests can provide valuable guidance and help you notice potential "red flags" that could adversely affect your future enjoyment of a home. A buyers' agent can offer you the expertise, professional insights, and objective point of view you might not otherwise have.
When you’re shopping for a home, one of the most important things is that you feel comfortable in the home. Sure, you can look at the listing and visit the property, but you’ll never know what it’s like to sleep in a home until you move in. While there aren’t many homeowners that offer overnights in order for you to feel out their property listing, there are ways that you can test a home out subtly.
Check Out The Neighborhood
You can learn a lot about a neighborhood just by observing the area. See how many people are out walking around. What is the age group of the people you see? This can give you a great idea of the neighborhood that your potential home is in. You could do this investigating several times at different hours of the day to get a full picture of the area.
Getting out and taking a stroll around the neighborhood is also a great idea to see what potentially living in your new home will be like. Check out public transportation options and local establishments like restaurants and coffee shops. Another great place to check out is local parks and recreation centers. This will allow you to see both the quality and the quantity of the options available to you.
Test The Plumbing
If you have a chance as you’re walking through a home, touring it, be sure to check out the plumbing. Turn on the faucets. See how the water pressure from the shower is. It seems like kind of a strange thing to think of testing, but it’s important. You don’t want to move into a house only to find out the water pressure is unlivable and the hot water isn’t so hot!
Check Out How The Windows Work
A home with a breeze is always nice. See if any windows get stuck or are leaking out cold air when shut. This is a subtle way to do your own home inspection of an important aspect of your potential future home. Paying attention to the windows can also help you to hear the noise factor that you might face in the home. Can you hear a lot of traffic? Is the neighborhood quiet? Discovering these things will be very important in your decision to purchase a home.
How Is The Storage Space?
Look around the homes that you’re considering and see how much storage space you’ll have. Is there a basement or an attic or both? How easy are these spaces to access? If a home lacks adequate closet space for storing things like towels, cleaners, clothing, etc, you may find yourself scrambling for ways to keep all of your things in the home once you move in. Make sure the storage space you see is enough for you and your family’s lifestyle.
Everyone defines the term "quality of life" differently, but if you asked 100 people, you'd probably hear a lot of similar answers.
According to a Gallup study entitled "The State of American Well-Being," the basis for a good quality of life includes having a sense of purpose, feeling good about what you do every day, having supportive relationships, being motivated to achieve your goals, being able to effectively manage your finances, having the energy and health to pursue your interests, and sharing a sense of community pride. Feeling safe and liking where you live were also key ingredients in the formula for a high quality of life .
The Gallup/Sharecare report focuses on several aspects of community life, such as the role local governments play in offering amenities and resources to citizens. The study concluded that "communities that invest in active living, including bike paths, parks, walkability and public transit, have residents with better health and well-being outcomes."
While factors such as the quality of school districts and low crime rates are often foremost in the minds of house hunters, there's also a lot to be said for communities that offer public recreational facilities, educational programs, cultural events, and services that promote health, safety, and a clean environment.
Advantages that can help make one community more desirable and family friendly than another can range from free outdoor concerts and public tennis courts to the availability of farmers' markets and clean, updated playgrounds. Other features which can positively impact the quality of life in a community include well-maintained roads and bridges, the availability of dog parks, community parades, and programs to encourage the proper disposal of drugs, electronics, household chemicals, and recyclable products.
At the neighborhood level, quality of life is often measured by factors like noise, the condition of nearby properties, the overall safety and security of the area, and the amount of street traffic. Clean air, mature trees, and friendly neighbors can also contribute to a wholesome living environment that can be enjoyed for generations.
While there are many advantages to designing your own home or buying new construction, one might need to make short-term sacrifices when it comes to things like noise, neighborhood aesthetics, and other temporary inconveniences. Your real estate agent or home builder can probably fill you in on things like construction timetables and project completion dates.
If you're in the market for a new home, it's always a good idea to clarify in your own mind what you and your family needs to feel comfortable, happy, and secure. Creating a priority list of needs, desires, and preferences not only helps you stay focused in your real estate search, but also increases the probability that you'll be satisfied with your new home on a long-term basis.