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Buyers Blog Update 9/29/2020

Create a Features Checklist

While its important to be aware of the steps necessary to purchase a home, the most critical step is to identify a home that meets as many features and benefits desired and required by your household.  Home buying has advantages over renting and that topic is for another article.  This article focuses on helping make sure that one of the biggest or biggest household investment helps fulfill you and/or your family’s dreams.
 
Before diving into details, you must make sure all the decision makers provide input into this checklist.  An individual does not have to compromise.  However, if you are looking to buy a home with your spouse or significant other, then both of you need to agree on the most important features.  Failing to do so will result in either failing to buy a home or having one person unhappy with the decision.  Having one unhappy individual can ruin the home environment even if it fulfills the dream of the other.  Keep in mind that a home is more than just building.
 
Consider these topics when creating your features checklist.  I will discuss each topic in greater detail.
 
  • 1) Location
  • 2) Property Type
  • 3) Floorplan
  • 4) Appliances & Fixtures
  • 5) Amenities
 
The list is ordered based on a real estate centric perspective.  You may decide that the type of property is more important than the location, particularly when that location may not have the property type that you are looking for.  For example, searching for a single-family home in Manhattan is pointless just like looking for a penthouse condo in a rural suburb.  Location or property type should be first item on the checklist.
 
Choosing a location does not mean that you must choose a specific city or neighborhood immediately.  If you have lived in an area for a while, you may already have neighborhoods in mind.  If you are new to the area, then consider the following criteria in helping identify the most promising neighborhoods.
 
  • 1) Budget:  Get pre-approved by a loan officer so that you know what you can afford.  Once you have that figure, then you can look to see what properties are available in your price range.
  • 2) Longest acceptable commute time and commuting options.
  • 3) Schools.
  • 4) Neighborhood amenities like sidewalks, parks, community swimming pools, etc.
  • 5) Location of parks and facilities that support your interests.
  • 6) Shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
 
Most residential properties consist of single-family homes, townhouses, and condos.  I consider a unit in a high rise building a condo, a unit that has no neighbors above or below and share walls with other neighbors a townhouse, and single structures surrounded by a yard a single-family home for the purpose of this article.  Duplexes and Fourplexes also fall in this category and there have been some great success stories about entrepreneurial individuals that become financially independent by buying multifamily homes, living in the ones that need the most work while fixing them up, renting the fixed up unit and moving into the next remodel opportunity.  As I mentioned earlier, property type could be the highest priority on your features checklist and that will narrow down the available neighborhoods.  The following criteria can help guide the creation of your checklist.
 
  • 1) View:  Higher floors in high rise condos will have better views in general.
  • 2) Yard:  Single-family homes and some townhouses will have yards that fulfill your goals.
  • 3) Maintenance Requirements:  Associations typically maintain the buildings while the owners are responsible for most plumbing and appliances inside the unit walls.
  • 4) Maintenance Fees:  Condos, townhouses, and planned neighborhoods typically have maintenance fees.  Maintenance fees generally increase over time with inflation.
  • 5) House Rules:  Single-family homes that are not located in planned neighborhoods will typically have the least restrictive rules.
 
There are often a variety of floor plans to choose from since different peoples’ homes will serve different purposes.  The most common criteria are:
 
  • 1) Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • 2) Single-story or multiple stories.
  • 3) Interior square footage.
  • 4) Number of living areas, dining areas.
  • 5) Galley kitchen, island kitchen, or kitchenette.
  • 6) Separate kitchen or kitchen that opens to a great room.
  • 7) Location of bedrooms in a multi-story floor plan.
  • 8) Home office or offices.
  • 9) Ceiling height.
 
Appliances & fixtures to consider:
 
  • 1) Kitchen or kitchenette:  Stove/cooktop, oven, range or built-in microwave, refrigerator, sink type, etc.
  • 2) Air conditioning and heating.
  • 3) Washer & dryer.
  • 4) Ceiling fans & lighting.
  • 5) Built ins.
 
Amenities to consider:
  • 1) Garage, secured parking, covered parking, open parking, or no assigned parking.
  • 2) Lanai or patio.
  • 3) Private swimming pool, association pool, community pool, or no pool.
  • 4) Association gym, or no gym.
  • 5) Security.
 
One dramatic shift that we have seen since March is the demand for single-family homes and townhouses surge in the suburbs at the expense of condos in high density Honolulu.  Every house that Tracey has recently listed has received multiple offers within days of putting the house on the market independent of condition.  Tracey noticed when showing the latest house to go under contract that buyers were looking at the extra bedrooms for home office potential as people working from home try to find a quiet place separate from their spouse and family to conduct business.
 
The greatest benefit of going through the exercise is potential to save time in your busy schedule.  A buyer can give this checklist to his, hers, or their buyer’s specialist and let their agent search for the property that best fits the criteria specified by the checklist.  If you are looking to buy an Oahu home, and have not hired a dedicated buyer’s specialist, then interview us for the job.  We would love to help you find your Oahu dream home.
he perfect home that's able to meet your needs.

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