8 tips for buying your perfect forever home.

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8 tips for buying your perfect forever home.

By emily.bailey

Monday, May 16, 2022

Tips for buying forever home | Schlage

Here are eight tips for helping you find the perfect forever home, plus a few extras to keep in mind for aging in place.

 

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Buying your first home or a starter home not the same as purchasing your forever home. Any house is an investment and many of the ideas are the same – Rule #1 is still location, location, location – but if you intend to stay there for 10 or more years, it’s good to think a little differently to make sure you get what you want. Below are eight tips for helping you find the perfect forever home, plus a few extras to keep in mind for aging in place.
Suburban brick and stone home.

Think differently about location

If you’re looking for your forever home, you probably already know the importance of location. You can change a lot of things, but your zip code isn’t one of them. Still, when buying your forever home, you’ll want to think of location slightly differently. If you no longer have kids in the house, finding a home in a good school district may be less of a concern (although school districts do affect property values). Finding a neighborhood with an HOA that shovels snow from your driveway might have greater appeal now. Or maybe it’s more about moving somewhere that doesn’t have snow, period.

 

If you’re looking for your forever home, you probably already know the importance of location. You can change a lot of things, but your zip code isn’t one of them. Still, when buying your forever home, you’ll want to think of location slightly differently. If you no longer have kids in the house, finding a home in a good school district may be less of a concern (although school districts do affect property values). Finding a neighborhood with an HOA that shovels snow from your driveway might have greater appeal now. Or maybe it’s more about moving somewhere that doesn’t have snow, period.

Decide if you want a fixer upper or move-in ready

There are two trains of thought here. If it’s your forever home, you have the time and possibly resources to customize it exactly how you want it. This could be your opportunity to really design your dream house, so you might be excited about the idea of a fixer upper. On the flip side, you might not be at a point in your life when you want to take that on. If your heavy lifting, DIY days are behind you, a move-in ready forever home may be more to your liking. Before you even start looking at the listings, decide how much of a project you want to commit to, both in terms of personal effort and financial cost.

Figure out the right size

Because every family is different and no two use their home in the same way, we call this rightsizing. Growing families will want more house – additional bedrooms for each child, a yard to play in, a large dining room to comfortably seat everyone, and room to grow to be ready for the unexpected.

 

Empty nesters may want the exact opposite. With kids out of the house, you’ll be looking to downsize. A spare room would be nice for hobbies or overnight guests, but you don’t need three extra bedrooms. Meals for two no longer require a massive kitchen. Or maybe downsizing isn’t in the plans at all. Maybe you plan on hosting the grandkids a few weekends a month or inviting the extended family – all 27 of them – over for Thanksgiving. The point is to make an honest evaluation of your current lifestyle needs and find the house that fits the bill.

Get the right amount of outdoor space

Just like the size of your home depends on what phase of life you’re in, you’ll want to consider the size of your yard and type of landscaping. Do you have kids and pets that would thrive in a large, fenced-in yard? Do you want to spend your retirement gardening? Or does your back start to ache at the mere thought of having to mow an expansive lawn, trim bushes and weed flower beds? Basically, your decision comes down to how you’ll use your yard and how much effort you want to put into its upkeep.

Find the right home style for your lifestyle

The style of your forever home should be something you love. That’s obvious. If you plan to age in place or think you’ll have elderly family members move in with you someday, think about ease of accessibility. For example, a ranch style home is ideal if you want to avoid climbing stairs as you get older. If you have children, do you want their bedrooms on the same level as yours or are they old (and trustworthy) enough to be farther away? How do you feel about open floorplans? They can let you keep an eye on the kids from anywhere but also make it harder to find privacy.

 

Maintenance comes into play here as well. Some styles require more effort for upkeep that, depending on where you stand, could be a dealbreaker for your new home. Vinyl siding is a lower-maintenance alternative to wood. Metal roofs last two to three times longer than asphalt shingles. Vinyl or aluminum window frames hold up better than wooden frames. And fiberglass and metal front doors require less maintenance than many other materials.

Look for flexibility in design

According to Forbes, you’ll likely need to stay in your forever home at least 10 years to make it worth the move financially. A lot can happen in a decade. Because our future might not play out like we imagine, you want to look for a home with the flexibility to adapt with your changing needs. That can mean any number of things – another baby, starting a business or suddenly working from home, an elderly parent moving in, a change in your own health. Life might feel a bit more settled at this stage of your life, but you don’t want to box yourself in too much.

Choose high quality

Because you’re going to be in your forever home potentially for 10 to 20 years or longer, you want to be confident that the structure as well as everything in it is designed to last. This is not a time to cut corners on quality. There will always be maintenance, but plumbing and electrical systems should be sound. The same goes for your HVAC. Cabinetry should be well-made and appliances need to last. Foundational issues should be addressed sooner rather than later as well as any concerns about the integrity of your driveway, walkways and home’s exterior.

 

Of course, we also think the door hardware on any home should be high quality. One of the best ways to protect your investment is with durable deadbolts and finishes. With benefits like our lifetime warranty guarantee and commitment to craftsmanship in every piece of our door hardware, you know you can trust your home to Schlage, whether you’re going to live there for five years, 15 or 50.

Plan for aging-in-place accommodations

We’ve already mentioned a few considerations for when you or loved ones plan to age in place. Here are a few more questions to ask yourself.

 

  • Will your new bathroom need a curbless shower? These can help reduce the risk of falls on slick tile and make it easier on someone who uses a wheelchair or walker.

  • Are there handrails everywhere appropriate? Again, falls are especially dangerous for older homeowners. Think about railings not just on porches, but also interior steps and in the bathroom.

  • Is there a ramp or room to install one in the future? This can make it easier – not to mention safer – to get in and out of the house if decreased mobility from age or disability is a concern.

  • Is there good natural lighting? Everyone benefits from natural lighting, but a well-lit home is also safer for those with vision impairments.

  • What accommodations are made in the kitchen? How high the counters are, whether the microwave is mounted above the stove or on the counter, and if there are pull-out cabinet drawers can make a difference when cooking comfortably and safely as you get older.

Visit the Schlage blog for more ways to make a home more accessible for aging in place. If you're curious how smart home tech changes the way homes or sold or think maybe you’re more ready for a starter home, we have that too.

 

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