Question of the Day: What’s most important to you in a home?

House-buying criteria

Despite my attempts to stick my head in the sand, we’ve begun looking at houses with our agent to get a feel for what is available and what is important to us in a home.

Yesterday I realized that I really only have a few requirements and that I could happily say yes to anything that meets these:

  • No more than 1,800-2,000 square feet. We’ve come across a few “deals” for larger homes, but I really do not want any more space. I like having a smaller home (that would have felt huge 50 years ago, if we’re honest!) and I think having more space would just end up meaning more space to store junk. If we weren’t home together all day every day, we could probably go even smaller, but we would still like to have room to spread out during the day.
  • A piano/homeschool room. We currently do school at the kitchen table and practice piano in the middle of the house, both of which work fine but could be better. I don’t want a school room to confine the kids to during school but simply as a home base for our homeschooling books, supplies, etc. And as piano practice takes more and more time for each of the girls, a piano room where the sound can be somewhat contained sounds perfect (no pun intended!).
  • An interesting lot. I have been mourning the loss of our acreage a bit, and while we may still be able to find acreage closer to town, I realized yesterday that the girls don’t necessarily need a huge amount of land just as long as the land we do have is interesting. One of the lots we looked at had tons of trees and a steep hill on the side, and the girls were in heaven running around, collecting sticks, planning out a fort, etc.

Today I want to know…what is your most important house criteria?

Is it size? Layout? Does your current home meet that criteria, or is it something you realized you wanted after moving? What did you think was important but later realized didn’t matter all that much?

{Click here to join the conversation.}

Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.
  • http://stitchinglotus.ca/ Heather

    For me it is space. There are only three of us, and we are just about to move from a 1050 sq foot condo to a 2200 sq foot house, and I can’t wait. I have hobbies that take up space, we have several computers, and a little boy who loves to set up elaborate Hot Wheels tracks all over the place. We also like the feeling of space, of things being spread out. Not minimalism, but space. So, I am sure that more space is going to work out well for us.

    Trees are also important. We will have a small lot in the suburbs, but it has three trees and we will be planting more.

  • Kate C

    A functional kitchen. We spend so much time in there every day, but our kitchen is very…weird. I figure someone who has never cooked a day in his life designed it. Sink with no counter on one side, and a corner on the other, dishwasher that blocks the sink when open (how do you rinse dishes?), side by side fridge facing a counter end, means you can’t get by if the door is open, and several short counters, no long ones. We loved everything else about the house and property, and plan to redo this down the road. But if I were buying a house today, I’d be pickier about the kitchen.

  • Catherine

    The “feel” when I walk inside the front door. For each of the homes we’ve bought, we’ve “known” immediately that it was the right one. For the home we’re in now, it was the huge yard. Beyond that, for me personally, a view and at least an acre are important (we have neither right now ;-).

  • Julie

    One of mine was a dining room where we could all fit and even have friends and extended family sit with us. Not many houses have space for 8+.

  • http://myoverflowingcup.com Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    One of the most important things in a home to me would be a kitchen that is as centrally located as possible. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I don’t want to feel separated from where the rest of the family is congregating most of the time. We lived in a house once where the kitchen was in the back corner. When hubs and the kids were playing, watching tv, etc., I was always in the back corner and felt left out. Our new house has the kitchen connected to the living room, so I don’t miss most of the action even when I am working. I know this can be a stressful time, but try to have fun and enjoy the ride! Congrats!

  • Drlene

    Space. You’re going to need it as the children get bigger. Bodies do take up space even when they’re sitting and sleeping. The piano space is important. My sister and I played the piano which was situated in the living room. Not every one wanted to hear us practice. It also interfered with TV watching even though that was kept to a minimum. It was difficult to stay focused with everything going on in the living room.

    • Shaina Olmanson

      I really don’t understand the preoccupation in this country to believe that more space is necessary. I have four children (aged 5 to 14) and we have 1300 square feet (900 finished square feet and then storage) with 3 bedrooms. Yes, it’s small, and there are days when I wish for more (mostly a second bathroom and a designated work space since I work from home), but the idea that we need more than 2000 feet to accomplish that seems a bit over-the-top to me. I like that our small house requires us to be patient and kind to each other and learn how to navigate other people’s personal space. Plus, my kids will be amazing college dorm-mates. They’re simply trading their 8×10″ bedroom space shared with their sibling to one shared with a classmate.

  • Mocksoup

    I’d like one where the roof doesn’t leak, where squirrels and bats weren’t taking up residence in the attic, mildew wasn’t taking over the back office, and I could have rails so I could get to the bathroom without help.

  • Melissa

    We just moved. Last week. It was our eighth move in ten years of marriage. And I’m hoping we’re done for a while. A long while! ;) We lived in an 1800 square foot house, and I did not want anything bigger. We only have three kids (not five) but I liked being together too, and being someone who likes things clean and to not accumulate stuff, smaller is better. Unfortunately we ended up with a bigger house, by a couple hundred square feet. But we literally did not see anything less than 2000 square feet. (Note: we moved from one corner of the country to the other, and had one long weekend to fly in, find a house, and be done.) I realized my priorities are school district, a well-cared for house (I don’t need fancy upgrades at all, but since we are not dyi-ers it needed to be in good, clean shape), and not being on top of the neighbors. Living in a city where neighbors were on top of each other, we are really enjoying not hearing every conversation our neighbors have!
    And I would agree. People kept telling us we “needed” four bedrooms – that the girls wouldn’t be willing to share when they’re older. My mom and sister shared their whole childhood, growing up in a two-bedroom house, and they are still the best of friends. And we went from a “master” closet that was 3.5 feet wide, which we shared just fine, to a large walk-in, which is 2/3s empty. People keep telling us we’ll be amazed at how quickly we’ll fill it up. Being somewhat stubborn and determined, I plan to keep it empty!

  • AshFromOrmond

    Natural light! It’s amazing how it seems to affect people’s energy levels and happiness.

  • Melissa Q

    For me, it’s not only “Location, location, location” but “layout, layout, layout” and “light, light, light”.

    • http://joyceandnorm.wordpress.com/ Joyce (and Norm)

      Same here and in that same order! We are 2 blocks from the transit/subway station that takes my hubby across the Bay to SF where we walks 2 blocks to his office building. No need for a second car. Our house is actually smaller in size than my sister’s house, but it feels a whole lot bigger because of open layout. And I definitely need light. :)

  • Delores D.

    Definitely natural light. Our lights are on all day long, and (for me) just not bright enough. NOTHING compares to natural light.

  • Erin Boyd Odom

    I love that you want to stick to no more than 2,000 sq. ft.! Our home is 2,000 sq. ft., and it felt huge when we moved in, yet it’s smaller than the average-sized home in America! I see no reason why we couldn’t stay in this house for forever–even if we have more kids eventually (we don’t know if we are). We have 4 bedrooms, but we have, so far, kept all 3 girls in one bedroom, so we have a guest room and office.

    We are in a subdivision, but our lot backs up to an old farm! So, instead of looking at another house, we look at a field, some trees and two old barns!

    Hope you find a perfect fit for your family!