If you’re looking to buy a home soon, you should certainly do your research. But what, exactly, should you be looking for? To get the best advice, we asked one of our own experts, Quinn McCarron, who designs homes for a living. Here, below, are the four must-haves McCarron says every future homeowner should search out.
1. A Floorplan That Makes Sense
When touring a model home, it’s important to take note of the floorplan. Make sure that walking through the house feels natural, and that rooms are laid out in a logical order. Indeed, “something everyone should look for,” says Quinn McCarron, an architectural designer at K. Hovnanian, “is a logical layout.” This means checking which rooms are next to one another and making sure certain appliances are grouped together. “One recent re-design we implemented,” McCarron says, “was moving a mechanical closet away from the home office, and into the laundry room.” This way, he explained, possibly loud and disruptive machinery can be brought together, while the workspace is left quiet and peaceful.
2. Roomy, Walkable Hallways
You should never feel cramped in your own home. And yet many houses are designed with too narrow of hallways. That’s why K. Hovnanian designs all its halls, McCarron says, “to exceed a clearance of 40 inches, so you never feel confined.” He notes this is especially important for the active adult buyer. “If now or in the future, you’re using a wheelchair, you want a home that comfortably allows that,” says McCarron.
3. A Convenient, Well-Planned Kitchen
It’s important to imagine yourself using each space in the home. And this is perhaps most crucial when looking at kitchens, where you’ll often be working on multiple surfaces, using a number of appliances. Consider the idea of the kitchen’s “work triangle,” made up by the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. “Draw a triangle between these three necessities,” says McCarron, “and make sure it doesn’t exceed around 26 feet.” This way, you’re not running around while cooking a meal.
4. Lots of Natural Light
“Personally speaking, I think natural light is the single most important thing to look out for,” says McCarron. There are many benefits to having natural light in your home: increased productivity and happiness, lower energy costs, better sleep. “We do this in our homes,” McCarron says, “by making sure there are numerous well-placed windows throughout the home.” Of course, it can be difficult to gauge how much natural light a home gets without visiting. A tour is the perfect time to take note.