Almost every Waterloo Region home buyer goes into their search with a list of needs and wants. And that list is usually shared with their Realtor so that he or she can tailor the homes they are shown accordingly. However, sometimes, especially when the potential home buyer is one who will be purchasing a home for the first time, that want list isn’t always practical or realistic.
Some things that end up on the 'must-have' list are often better moved to the nice to have list, especially if there are likely to be homes available that will otherwise be the right one for you.
While you’re making a wish list of ‘must have’ features to share with your real estate agent, check it twice to make sure that the options you have in mind make monetary and practical sense, too. Here are some prime examples of just what we mean:
The Big Yard
A big yard is on many potential home buyer’s wish lists. And why not. Pets and kids love having a big yard. A big yard is great for summer outdoor living. If well maintained, it’s great for general curb appeal as well.
But, a big yard also means a lot of work. Those beautifully manicured lawns you see in glossy magazines take a lot of hard work to maintain (and they may have had a hand from Photoshop as well) and would NOT be particularly kid or pet friendly.
Holding out for a big yard may not always be the best idea, especially if this will be a starter home that may be resold in a few years, as new buyers may not want to take on all of those gardening chores that you did. A small yard will be easier to take care of, especially an outdoor space without a large expanse of grass,
If you love the idea of enjoying green space without all the hard work, the Waterloo Region is one of the few urban areas in Canada that didn’t see a drop in the percentage of green space, according to a recent study by Statistics Canada.
A Formal Dining Room
A home with a formal dining room does mean that the family has a dedicated space to take meals in that can be oh so stylish and sophisticated. But getting real, people who already own a home with such a space barely use it for its given purpose and most meals are eaten at a less formal dining able in the kitchen or living room. The formal dining room table is laid for holiday celebrations, and the rest of the time it becomes a space reserved for monthly bill paying in peace at most.
Instead of holding out for a formal dining room, consider being open to putting your money into square footage that will serve your needs and add some convenience, like an extra bathroom, a large laundry room or plenty of walk-in closets instead. And looking perhaps for a home with a great eat-in kitchen, especially as that is really how most modern families prefer to gather to eat and chat at the end of the day these days.
A Wood Burning Fireplace
Yes, a roaring fire in the dead of winter is totally romantic and charming. It can also help you save on energy bills as well, if it is placed in the right spot in the home for the heat to circulate. But what is it going to do for the other, warmer months of the year? Basically, just sit there and add yet another cleaning chore to your busy housekeeping list.
There is also the safety factor. Kids (and pets) and fireplaces don’t mix well. So if you have – or plan to start – a family, then a fireplace could become a danger. They are big air polluters too, and require specific maintenance in order to be safe, so before you hold out for one, keep of all these things in mind.
If you really want a fireplace look for a nice big living room in your new Waterloo Region home, and then you can add one of the many, really great looking freestanding electric fireplaces that you can get right now if it does not come with one already., like the one seen above.
Stainless Steel Appliances
This is a wish list item that has only cropped up over the last decade or so. And to be honest, it’s the one that often makes the least sense. Stainless steel appliances do look cool, and they are still trendy right now. Yet they rarely actually do much more than their ‘standard’ counterparts, and trends don’t last forever. Just ask someone who once held out for an all olive kitchen in the 70s because that was hot at the time. Plus, have you ever tried to keep stainless steel fingerprint free?
Stainless steel appliances are nice and if the home comes with them, great. But why base home buying decisions based on something that has a limited useful life, especially when the ‘standard’ options another property may come with can be so easily replaced?