Checklist for Evaluating New Homes for Sale
No matter how much experience you have with the real estate process, evaluating a new home for sale is a significant undertaking. From buying your first home, to buying the home you plan to retire in, there are a lot of different factors to consider as you shop new homes for sale and try to find the perfect combination of design and budget to fit you and your family. To help you navigate this process and make sure that you don’t overlook any important details, we have put together a comprehensive checklist for evaluating homes. Whether you are looking for a new home in Detroit, new construction in Atlanta or any other city across the country, the same principles apply.
Step 1: Create a List of Must-Have Features
Do you need a spacious yard for your kids and pets? Will you need a dedicated office space so that you can work from home? Do you prefer an open floor plan that makes it easier to entertain? To start the process of evaluating new homes for sale make a list of 5 absolute must-haves. This will help you eliminate any homes that don’t fit your requirements. However, it is important to keep your list short. If your must-haves start to reach double digits, you may have trouble finding a new home checks all your boxes.
Also, when you are considering must-haves, think about which features add value to the home and which can be easily changed to make the home feel more personal. For example, if you are looking at a new home for sale that is located in a great school district and offers a short commute to work, but you aren’t crazy about the wall colors, don’t dismiss this option. You can always change the paint, but you can’t move an otherwise perfect home to a whole new location.
Step 2: Check the Location of New Homes for Sale
When it comes to real estate, the importance of location cannot be underestimated. Here are some factors that you may want to consider when evaluating the location of your new home:
- Proximity to parks
- Quiet street
- Traffic noise
- Good school systems
- Easy access to expressways, airports and other transportation hubs
- Distance between homes
- Proximity to grocery stores and other shopping
Even if location is not something that is on your list of must-have features, you should always consider where your home is when evaluating new homes for sale since this can have a big impact on the price of the home and its potential resale value.
Step 3: Evaluate the Size of Your New Home
The size of your home is another important factor to consider when looking at new homes for sale and will likely fall into your list of must-haves. You want enough room to accommodate all of your family, allow for expansion and provide specific living areas that support your lifestyle. Below are some questions you may need to ask yourself as you figure out what size new home you may want to look for:
How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms do you need?
You will want to make sure your new home either has the number of rooms you need or has the option for the number of rooms that you need. If you are considering buying a new construction home, many floorplans can flex to accommodate needs.
What is the minimum and maximum square footage you are looking for?
Beyond the number of rooms, you may also want to evaluate the total square footage of the home. Larger square footage will generally allow for larger rooms, but, smaller space may have improved energy efficiencies which provide you with extended savings down the road. As you evaluate new homes for sale, don’t feel like you have to take the listing’s word on the square footage of a home. You can always calculate the square footage of a space on your own.
Do you need a garage? How many cars do you need to park in the garage?
Whether you use your garage for cars or storage, it is important to consider how much space you might need when evaluating new homes for sale. Many new homes come with 3rd stall garages or offer additional storage space in front of where the cars will be parked.
Do you have a preferred lot size?
When evaluating a new home, consider carefully if you have a preferred lot sizes. Many new home communities have smaller lots, but may compensate with options like walking trails, mini parks or general shared spaces. If you are dead set on having a large yard or feel you might want extra privacy, then it is best to consider lots that are at least ½ acre.
Step 4: Consider Your Preferred Floor Plan
While open floor plans have been a popular option for some time now, many homeowners are now looking for homes for sale that have designated spaces that are clearly divided. And, while a ranch may be on your preference list, you may also want to consider a two-story home with a master suite on the first floor. Think about the different ways you use your space and how different floor plans can add form and function in the new homes you are evaluating. Some of the different options you may want to consider are:
- One or multiple stories: One stories offer easier livability but are often more costly per square foot in comparison to multi-story homes.
- First floor bedrooms: First floor bedrooms can be great for visiting elderly relatives, or, in the case of first floor masters, may offer some separation between kids’ and parents’ rooms.
- Basement or attic space: Both offer opportunity for additional storage, but you can design a basement to offer more livability by creating a man-cave, play room or extra bedroom space.
- Open floor plan versus designated spaces
- Laundry and/or mud room
- Accessibility for those with mobility challenges
With older homes, you can make upgrades, but when you are buying a new home, there are certain features that you will want in place from day one. These are just a few popular features that you may want to add your checklist:
- Hardwood floors
- Energy efficient appliances
- Stainless steel appliances
- Granite countertops
- Farmhouse style kitchen sink
- Solid wood cabinets
- Gas range
With any luck, your outdoor space will be an extension of your home and provide you with additional living space. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside, think about which features will help you enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. These features may vary, especially when it comes to different climates.
- Lot size
- Fenced in yard
- Shed/outdoor storage
- Swimming pool
- Hot tub
- Water feature
There is a lot to consider when evaluating new homes. Use this checklist to help you streamline the home buying process and narrow down your options. You can also contact the experts at Pulte Homes to learn about new home communities across the country and discuss designing and building a home from the ground up.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Amy M. Blitchok
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