Most people spend a lot of time daydreaming about what their new house will look like. Once they start actually looking at houses they usually spend some time deciding what it is they want in a house and the parameters they desire, sometimes even making a list. When the time comes to start actually shopping, the first phase of this is usually done online via one of the many apps available. While this is a great way to start, and you can usually begin to get an idea of styles and finishes, the reality is often very different once you start to physically visit homes. As such, the original bullet pointed list often ends up changing, sometimes drastically.
Many times, homebuyers, especially first time homebuyers don’t realize some of the features, layouts and locations they might find appealing or unappealing until they actually get themselves into a lot of houses. For example, many people have decided how many bedrooms they want. But they don’t really think about how they would like the bedrooms laid out in the home until they walk into their first ranch style home and realize all three of the bedrooms are clustered together at one in the hallway. Then it dawns on them, that perhaps they’d like to have a little more privacy from their kids. They want a basement but haven’t even considered the fact that some basements only have outdoor entrances, some have low ceilings and low light. They want two bathrooms but haven’t thought to think that they must have a tub in the master bath rather than these fancy walk-in showers that are so common these days. They want gas appliances in the kitchen but it never occurred to them that they really want a pantry until that first day they see one in person. Sure they want a yard, but where is the access to that? Off the kitchen? Only through a bedroom? Out the front door and around the back? Many of these things just can’t be conveyed via photos and text online.
So, the moral of the story is. Go visit houses. Preferably with me, your friend the Realtor but even if you aren’t going to be ready to buy for 6 months and don’t want to bother a Realtor, take yourself out to Open Houses, ask questions of the agent hosting, (you can keep the sharks away by telling them you’re working with an agent) spend time wandering around getting a feel for the different layouts that different home styles offer. That way, when the hunt really starts, you’ll be more informed and you’re be prepared when the right place comes along.