A: Function, cost and delight. Always think of them together as anchors, which can help articulate the pieces that matter most to you. And make sure you consider what your life will be like in a few years. Are the kids going off to school, elderly parents moving in, are you retiring? Plan for it.
Q: What are some common buyer mistakes?
A: They don’t fully understand how they actually want to live. Do they really need a big yard, or is it just a preconceived idea of a dream home? People are often focused on the number of square feet and not how it’s used.
Q: What are some points to consider when walking through a house?
A: Do a gut check — does it feel right? Then a reality check — can I actually afford it? Is it furnishable? Where do kids do their homework? Of course, examine proximity. Ask for a year’s worth of utility bills, so there are no surprises.
Q: Is it a good idea to pick a home with a high walk score?
A: Generally, the higher the better. The more things you can walk to make you less auto-dependent. But it’s not as simple as a high walk score. It might be more important to live right by your children’s school, which may have a low walk score.
Q: Why should you examine the type of street a house sits on?
A: You can tell the experience you will have by driving down the street. If you’re staring at garage doors, it tells you that you will have an auto-dependent lifestyle. If the garages are pushed back and homes have a front porch, it tells you that pedestrians are part of this community.
Q: Why has the average American home dropped from 2,277 square feet in 2002 to 2,100 square feet today?
A: Gas was cheap, and money was free, and that drove the building of McMansions, and square footage went up. When the housing bubble burst, sizes started coming down. Today people value things you can touch and feel: a front porch as opposed to an extra gable. Sarah Susanka, author of the “Not So Big House” books, said that when you really assess the space you need, it’s typically one-third less than what you think you need.
Q: What’s your overall rule of thumb for finding the just-right home?