Today's New Home Choice Should Also be Tomorrow's!
“At the end of the day...” “The bottom line…” “When all is said and done…”
The final verdict on whether any activity is ultimately deemed a triumph comes down to how successfully it addresses future circumstances. It’s especially relevant when you find yourself at the outset of searching for a new home.
That’s not always as easy as you might think. The pressures of the moment (especially when the change of residence is mandated by outside factors — like a job transfer or quickly approaching school registration deadline) — can loom so large that when you find a house that’s perfect for the family now, second thoughts about the distant future don’t even surface.
Better idea: before you even start, take a breath! The search for your new home will ultimately be much more successful when you start out with an unhurried appraisal of your family’s requirements, not only as they are in the immediate future, but further downstream as well.
What's in the future?
To accomplish that, the first order of business is to make as good an approximation as you can of the likely longevity of your family’s stay in your new home. If it’s quite likely that you’ll be moving in five years or less, your planning horizon can more comfortably center on today’s requirements. If a longer stay is possible, longer-term considerations really need to be addressed seriously. Not doing so can wind up creating a lot of extra effort and expense you might have been able to avoid.
Of course it’s the unique makeup of the household that will determine the size, type and features you target for your new home. Especially when children are part of the picture, their ages will be a leading factor in your house hunt. Families with toddlers usually find themselves automatically gravitating towards properties with smaller, more contained yard spaces that are easily child-proofed. But when they hit the 5-to-10 year-old age group, the target is more likely to include properties with ample space for children to play — and a neighborhood with a lot of other kids. It’s an important time for them to be discovering their talents, interests and abilities.
What about flexibility?
It might seem to be an abstraction right now if you are under the gun, but later on, how valuable might it be to have a house with a guest suite on the main level for visiting in-laws? And if the kids are nearing adolescence, most parents and their offspring will value a new home that enables the teen to have a room of her or his own — welcome respite for everyone!
If there truly is no way to realistically appraise how long your stay will be, rather than just shrugging off the possibility of taking the long term into account, you might be on the lookout for a new home that features a layout with a lot of flexibility, such as one with a semi-detached bedroom that could be converted into an office (or even rental space).
Buying a new home is always a substantial commitment — one that warrants going the extra mile to project how it will fit your unique household now and into the future. If you will be looking for a new home in this fall, I hope you’ll contact me to discuss today’s choices and those that will be coming on the market!