Are you looking for a new home or dreaming about the renovations you’ll make to your current house? These characteristics of a good home are a great starting place to finding (or creating) the house of your dreams.
Price and Location
Location, location, location… and price so you know you can actually afford the fabulous location. 😉
Joking aside, price and location really are the two most important characteristics of a good home.
If you have young kids, your location may depend on the quality of the local schools, whether there are parks or safe roads/sidewalks and “walkability” so your kids have a place to play (and a simple way to get there).
You may also want to consider distance from mass transit, although that can be a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective. You want to live close enough so that you can easily access the transportation but far enough so that the sound doesn’t bother you.
Spacious, Open Floor Plan
Homeowners, especially parents, want a floor plan that flows.
It’s important to have “sight lines” from the kitchen to the great room or family room so that parents can easily see what their kids are doing.
However, it’s also nice to have separate spaces for different activities. For example, a full basement is ideal for an “arcade area” or a teenager’s “movie room.”
Plenty of Storage Space
It’s important to have designated storage areas and large closets. Especially if you live in an area with four seasons, you (or your kids) have hobbies and sports, or you LOVE changing your decor to match the holidays, you’ll need lots of storage.
Even if your home has a basement, designated storage space is handy. Section off areas of your home as storage space and keep them well-organized.
I have a small area under my back porch that I use as storage. I bought these sturdy shelves from Lowe’s and organized my holiday decor into plastic tubs. I also store seasonal equipment, like ice skates, roller blades, etc. in my storage area.
Good Natural Light
South-facing windows let in the best natural light consistently throughout the day. However, if you want to see the sunrise or sunset every day, you may want to consider east or west facing windows.
That said, east and west-facing windows may not be ideal if you have young children because your kids will be quick to rise with the sun and they won’t want to go to bed until after it’s completely dark.
Modern Conveniences and Green Features
Modern conveniences, such as a home office equipped with extra electrical and telephone outlets and a high-speed data line are important.
While it’s simple to change the light switches or add smart plugs, many home buyers don’t have the knowledge to rewire an electrical outlet.
Also, it’s important to have ACCESS to modern conveniences, such as high-speed, reliable internet.
But green features are also convenient and can save you money in the long run. You can easily add “green features” to your home by replacing light bulbs, installing energy-efficient appliances, or even monitoring your energy usage.
New or Updated Kitchens and Bathrooms
While a major renovation may not be in everyone’s budget, renovated kitchens and bathrooms are huge selling points in a house.
Kitchen and bath remodels are two of the best renovations you can do. Depending on where you live, they can return more than 100% of your initial investment.
That said, make sure the basic maintenance is still done on the house before tackling a renovation. Things like new roofs, an efficient furnace, and newer windows are more important than updated countertops, and it’s pretty easy (and cheap) to update a kitchen or bathroom with paint and some cute decorations.
Consider the number of bathrooms in a house, as well as the location of each bathroom. While a renovated bathroom is nice, it’s still better to have multiple bathrooms in the house.
Bathrooms near the entrance of your home and near bedrooms are prime locations. Having a bathroom on each level of the house is also really helpful so you’re not constantly running up and down stairs.
It’s especially handy to have a bathroom in the basement and on the second floor of your home, especially if you have bedrooms or a home office in the basement or second story.
If you have a basement that isn’t “plumbed” for a bathroom, you can either drill into the floor and build your own in-floor plumbing system or you can install a pump-up system with these options.
A Master Suite
A large master bedroom with an attached bathroom is a huge plus. Even if the master bath is tiny, it’s still a great feature, especially in the middle of the night.
Both inside and outside the house, homeowners want to avoid maintenance.
Whether it’s a private yard with landscaping that doesn’t require much work, like pine trees around the perimeter; a maintenance-free exterior like brick or vinyl siding; or a renovated interior that doesn’t need an overhaul, people want to hit the easy button in their homes.
An Attached Garage
The bonus storage, vehicle protection, and easy access to the house, particularly the kitchen, is a huge benefit of an attached garage.
Even if you need help organizing your garage, an attached garage has so much potential!
While a formal entry is nice for guests, an attached garage provides easy access for unloading groceries (and kids).
Bonus points if a bathroom and mudroom are also located near the garage!
Quality Construction with Distinct Architecture
Curb appeal and “distinct architecture” go a long way in making a home look nice, but quality construction and owning a solidly built home are super important.
Making regular repairs and watching for things like cracks in the foundation, water damage (or even pools of water near the house), or termite/pest damage can keep your home looking nice (and staying solid) for generations to come!
A Conveniently Located Laundry Room
No one really wants to spend much time in a laundry room, but a large, conveniently located laundry room is really important, especially if you have young kids.
You prefer your laundry room near the bedrooms for easy access or near the garage to use as a mudroom. If you’re short on space, a “laundry closet” can also work (and it can be quickly hidden if unexpected guests arrive.
If your home doesn’t have a spacious laundry room, there are things you can do to improve the functionality and laundry room organization in your home. Consider getting a stackable washing machine and dryer to save space, or get front loading machines so that you can put a counter on top and create an area to fold clothes.
As always, it’s simple to decorate even the tiniest laundry room with cute printable art, a “lonely sock” board, and a “tip jar.”
A Single Level
A “ranch” style house on a single floor is perfect if you have small children or if you don’t want to tackle stairs. It’s convenient for laundry purposes, keeping an eye on daredevil children, and even cleaning (lugging a vacuum cleaner up and down stairs is never fun).
However, a two-story house is nice because you can close off the bedrooms (or send the kids to bed and watch your favorite TV show without having to worry about kids learning naughty words). It’s also cheaper to “build up” and it can save space if you have a tiny lot in a neighborhood.
There are pluses and minuses of high, vaulted ceilings in a home.
They’re beautiful and make a room appear more open and spacious, but they also increase your heating cost. They’re also difficult to clean.
OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS
Fresh air and a place for the kids to roam (and adults to entertain) is a bonus of having an outdoor living area. Depending on the weather, it may not be practical, though, and it requires more maintenance.
Along with location, a secure home in a safe area provides so much peace of mind.
However, security is pretty easy to add to any home.
Especially if your partner travels, or if you live in a secluded area, you might want to consider a security system. It could be as simple as getting a Ring camera for your front door, a Blink camera and motion detector angled over the back of your house, or a full home alarm system.
Whether you’re far from your neighbors, have a tree-lined yard, or invest in some really good curtains, privacy is important. The last thing you want to worry about is giving your neighbors (or a delivery person) a show while you’re nursing your baby.
These characteristics of a good home are all things to consider whether you’re looking to buy a new home, renovating your current home, or dreaming about your future house.