If you’re searching for a new home in 2022, one of the first factors you’ll want to determine is how large of a home you are searching for. If you’re upgrading from a studio apartment, you may be happy with a starter home. Or, if you’re downsizing from a family home, you may be looking for a maintenance-free condo. Before you begin your home search, identify your needs in a home so you’re looking in the right direction. Here are some things to consider:
The most important consideration when deciding how much home is right for you is your housing budget. Most lenders suggest spending no more than 28% of your income on housing, which will also include the cost of closing, property taxes, and any regular home association or maintenance fees. Use our online calculator to get a rough idea of your home budget before meeting with a mortgage professional. Once you’ve identified your home budget, do a wide search in your area to see what kind of inventory is available in your price range. This will help you narrow down your neighborhood choice and be realistic about your options. If you can’t find a five bedroom colonial in your price range in the neighborhood of your dreams, you’ll have to either widen your search or temper your expectations. If you’re a first time homebuyer with a limited budget, you may want to look for a charming starter home rather than an expansive family home.
While you might simply count up your family members and decide you need three bedrooms, it’s important to consider current and future needs when determining how many bedrooms you’d like in a future home. If you are planning to have more children in the next ten years, add a room for each child you’re planning to have. You’ll also want to consider whether you need a guest bedroom for visitors, a home office, or a craft or playroom. It’s better to think proactively than to be forced to move out of a wonderful home because you didn’t plan ahead.
Square footage is a vital consideration when looking for a new house. On one hand, more square footage means higher taxes, property value and higher utility bills, but on the other, the extra space can be great for a large family. Consider both the amount of living space (bedrooms, living rooms, kitchen, etc) and the amount of storage space (closets, attic, basement). Also consider the square footage of your current living space. Is it too large, or too small, and why?
Yard size is another important consideration when choosing a new home. If you have children or pets, you may want a fairly sizable yard for them to play in, but if you’re looking at townhomes in the city, you may be happy with just a rooftop deck and no yard to maintain. Think carefully about your outdoor needs and narrow down your home search from there.
Entertaining and Hobbies
When looking at potential homes, think about how you will use the space. If you love hosting large dinner parties, find something with a spacious dining room and an impressive living area to wow your guests. If cooking is your passion, make sure the kitchen meets your needs. You may also want to find a home with a suitable home office, a large playroom, or a home gym. Make a list of the features you’d like in a home and order them from most important to least important. Depending on your budget, you may have to compromise on some of the less important features to ensure you get that stellar kitchen or serene backyard.