10 Desires of First-time Homebuyers That Are Not Necessarily Needed

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Real Estate

While a pool may seem like a must-have, it may turn out to be more money and maintenance than it’s worth.
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As you’re driving along, you see your dream house. It’s nestled among large oak trees, along a stretch of beach, or within walking distance of your favorite restaurant. Whatever it is that caught your attention, it has got you thinking about the joys of owning a home.

You may not be able to afford the house of your dreams on your first try, but you will want a few of the amenities that you have been yearning for. While creating a list of features to share with your real estate agent, make sure that the options you have in mind make monetary and practical sense.

10: A Large Yard

It’s natural to want your first home to have a large yard, as it has curb appeal and is a great spot for barbecues with friends and neighbors. However, a big yard requires a lot of maintenance, which can be expensive and not very pet- or child-friendly. It’s recommended to look for a rectangular, level lot to make maintaining your lawn easier and to improve the property’s resale value.

9: A Home Theater

Home theaters are becoming increasingly popular in today’s real estate market. But they’re also increasingly expensive.
Andersen Ross/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images

Investing in a home with a dedicated home theater may seem tempting to enhance your TV-watching experience, but it’s not practical in today’s eco-friendly, minimalist mindset. Instead, consider investing in a home with solar panels or triple-paned windows to improve energy efficiency.

8: A Fireplace

A fireplace may be a desirable feature, but it can be a dangerous indulgence if not maintained properly. It’s also a big air polluter, and most of the heat from burning fireplace logs goes up the chimney instead of into the room. Consider the practicality of a fireplace before making it a must-have feature in your first home.

Obtain Pre-approval for a Mortgage

If you are serious about buying a house, take the extra step of obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage first. Having pre-approval will demonstrate to sellers that you are committed, and the process of obtaining it will help you address any issues sooner rather than later.

7: Walk-in Humidors and other Fancy Fare

The next buyer may not share your appreciation for rare items.

Carlos Davila/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images

Even if you have a refined palate that yearns for rare wines, Cuban cigars, homemade bread, and a covered container for growing shiitake mushrooms, it is likely that future buyers will not share your particular passions.

Keeping your choices more common and versatile will make your space more attractive to others later on. Go ahead and indulge a little, but this is an area where being average is beneficial.

6: Stainless Steel Appliances

The popularity of stainless steel may be short-lived.

Ivan Hunter/Digital Vision/Getty Images

No matter when you are in the market for a home, there will be items that are considered “in” and will entice you. Often, these alluring elements are found in the kitchen. From stainless steel appliances to wooden covers that conceal your refrigerator, dishwasher, and other conveniences, there is always a new trend to tempt you. Although these refinements are popular today, they will soon be replaced by other must-have styles. Worse yet, last year’s trend will appear outdated and dull once it goes out of style.

Plain white is the most common refrigerator color sold in the United States every year, and there is much to be said for sticking with classics that withstand wacky fads and still look new. Seriously, have you ever tried to keep fingerprints off of stainless steel?

5: Outdoor Kitchens

Who would have imagined that bringing your stove and sofa outside would become a design trend? Using outdoor space, such as a porch, to create a virtual room used to be a clever, inexpensive idea. You can use your patio or deck as a kitchen and family room combination when the weather is nice and keep the mess, cooking smells, and heat outside.

The only problem is that what began with a hibachi and a few lawn chairs has evolved into a behemoth that can cost a small fortune. If you live in an area with great weather for at least three seasons of the year, some extravagance may be warranted. Otherwise, keep your main assets inside, where they can be properly protected.

Living in the Great Outdoors

Elaborate outdoor kitchens can include fireplaces, flat-screen televisions, and full-sized refrigerators, with a price tag that could easily exceed $30,000 [source: Fogazzo].

4: Formal Dining Room

While formal dining rooms may have style and grace, they are often used infrequently. If your family prefers eating in front of the TV and Sunday dinners are from the nearest drive-through, a formal dining room may not be necessary. When looking for a new home, prioritize square footage that will serve your needs, such as an extra bathroom, a large laundry room, or spacious walk-in closets.

3: A Library or Sunroom

While some people may love a library or sunroom, these rooms may not be practical for everyone. If you do not enjoy reading or plants, these rooms may be useless to you. Additionally, when it comes time to sell your home, not all potential buyers will share your passions for these rooms. Built-in bookshelves and bump-out greenhouse windows may also have limited appeal. In fact, a sunroom addition only recovers about half of its cost when selling your home. Consider a nursery or mother-in-law suite instead.

2: Sheds

While sheds are great for additional storage, they can be an eyesore to others and may not be the best use of prime real estate on your property. Additionally, sheds are known for their tendency to let contents become damp and moldy. Consider homes with creative storage solutions such as attics or modular overhead garage storage instead of adding a shed to your property.

1: Pools, Ponds and Other Water Features

While water features may be alluring, they can be time-consuming and expensive to maintain. Pools and ponds also pose a potential drowning hazard for young children and animals. Although they may seem like a great addition to your property, the reality of maintenance and safety concerns make them problematic.

It’s important to note that every year, many children in the United States drown in residential pools and spas. Keep this in mind before adding a pool or pond to your property.

Lots of Additional Information

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1. Do I need to buy a house with a pool?

While a pool may seem like a luxurious addition to a home, it is not a necessity. Pools require maintenance, can be expensive to install, and may not be used frequently. It is important to consider the cost and upkeep before deciding to purchase a home with a pool.

2. Should I buy a home with a large backyard?

A large backyard may be desirable, but it is not necessary. It is important to consider how much time and effort will be required to maintain a large yard. Additionally, a smaller yard may be more manageable and provide enough space for outdoor activities.

3. Do I need a home with a guest room?

A guest room may seem like a great addition to a home, but it is not necessary. There are many alternative options for hosting guests, such as a pull-out couch or an air mattress. It is important to consider how often guests will be staying in the home before deciding if a guest room is necessary.

4. Should I buy a home with a finished basement?

A finished basement may be desirable, but it is not necessary. It is important to consider the cost and time required to finish a basement if it is not already completed. Additionally, a finished basement may not add significant value to the home.

5. Do I need a home with a large garage?

A large garage may be desirable, but it is not necessary. It is important to consider how many cars will need to be stored in the garage and if additional space for storage is required. Additionally, a smaller garage may be more cost-effective and provide enough space for vehicle storage.

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