On the surface, buying a new home may seem very similar to buying an existing property, but it is very different. The exciting part of buying a new home is that you get to personalize it to your specific tastes and needs. You determine which community you want to live in, which specific lot, the floor plan, and the interior and sometimes exterior features and finishes.
Below is a list of must-have new home features, categorized by buyer type; first-time buyers, families and empty-nesters. You may find some items outside of your demographic that fit your needs, so keep an open mind as your read through the list.
According to the National Association of Realtors' 2017 Generational Study, the vast majority of first-time buyers are millennials. This group is comprised of people who have grown up with technology and expect it to be incorporated throughout their new home. They prefer minimalistic features and casual, yet flexible spaces.
If you fit this demographic, you'll want to include these features in your new home:
- Open-concept kitchen and great room: As the main living areas, they must be open, without walls to block the sightlines, and large enough to accommodate entertaining.
- Modern bathrooms: The bathrooms may not be large, but they should include floating vanities or free-standing furniture to save space..
- High-tech office: Do you have a flexible work schedule or telecommute? You'll need a dedicated home office or den to stay focused, organized and connected.
- Smart features: High-speed internet and smart features tied to mobile apps and fibre-optic wiring throughout are necessities.
- Environmentally friendly and energy efficient: You may not be able to afford the latest and greatest in green technology in your first home, but you should opt for condos with green building features.
- Outdoor living space: Try to make use of the limited space on your condo balcony!
It’s not uncommon to have both parents working or several generations under one roof, and families come in all sizes from three to five, six, seven, and more.
Does this describe you? Then, you'll want to make sure your new home has these features:
- Balanced floor plan: Open areas are great for family and social events, but privacy is key when sharing a home with a big family.
- Plenty of storage: Keep things organized and spend less time searching for lost items.
- Convenient laundry: Whether it’s on the first or second floor, make sure you have room for a folding table and plenty of storage.
- Spacious kitchen: This is the social hub of the house. Make sure you have an island with overhang and bar stools and a separate breakfast area.
- Mudroom: Keep dirt, backpacks and outdoor apparel in its place and away from the main entrance.
- Master bedroom with an ensuite: Sometimes you just need a break from the family chaos. Make sure you have a freestanding soaking tub to relax and recharge.
- Energy-efficient features: A high-efficiency furnace, extra insulation, a programmable thermostat, CFL light bulbs and Low-E windows will save you money on your energy bills.
- Finished basement: It's a great place for a playroom, media room, home office, or a college-age or in-law apartment. The possibilities are endless.
- Outdoor living: Extend your living space with a perfect deck, decorative patio, pergola, hot tub, fireplace or fire pit.
Empty nestersAs for the Baby Boomers, their kids are grown up and left the nest, and it’s time to consider retirement. The majority of empty-nesters have saved for this time in their lives and are ready to buy their forever home with all the features they've ever wanted.Sound familiar? You'll want to consider these features when purchasing your new home:
- Smaller floor plan: Now that the kids are gone, you're probably surprised at how much unused space you have. Make sure your new home has plenty of storage so you can bring some of those sentimental mementos with you.
- Bungalow model: There's no need to worry about navigating stairs several times a day. Opt for a bungalow so you can have everything on the same level.
- Maintenance-free lifestyle: Living in a condo means you don’t have to worry about exterior maintenance like landscaping or shovelling the snow in the winter.
- Age-in-place features: Threshold-free showers, grab bars, comfort-height toilets, lever door handles, and wider hallways make getting around your home easy..
Buying a new home can be exciting and rewarding at any age if you carefully consider your present needs and plans for the immediate and distant future. Make sure to include the structural items you really want now as renovation work will cost significantly more later. Relax and enjoy the process.