Buying Home; Ask any real estate agent what a buyer’s top priority should be and they’d say: location, location. They’re right of course, but there are other factors that will offer a great quality of living and potential into the future. As an architect, I’m looking for the following to deliver lifestyle and returns over the long term:
A property with a rear yard to the north of the property offers potential to place the living area to the rear of the home, if not already located here, and direct sunlight to these living areas. Direct sunlight from the north is relatively easy to control, to allow in through winter and keep out through the summer. This orientation also gives best access to outdoor spaces from the living areas, and ultimately gets the best use of your outdoor spaces as part of the living area.
Do the window types and locations offer good cross ventilation? Awning windows offer more limited ventilation then a casement window or louvers. Another impact on this might be any noise source that is external to the house that would prevent the window being used for ventilation, such as heavy traffic. Good cross ventilation of a home will not only reduce the reliance on an air conditioner in the summer, but will also reduce the likelihood of mould growth and make the property a healthier place to live over time.
3. Adaptable layout & Structure
Over time, renovations or alterations are like to be carried out on the property. Having property that offers easy adaption will help. Well-located bathrooms and kitchens are especially important. These are costly items to be moving and make future renovations more complex. Don’t forget to eye that layout carefully!
4. Existing character & integrity
If you are considering buying an older home watch out for poor quality renovations. Sometimes these will devalue a property as there is allot more work to be done to correct the poorly thought out and poorly constructed owner builder projects. On the other hand you may find a home that is small, as most of it is original, and well looked after. If you find them, these can offer great value. High ceilings will always make a space feel larger than it is in floor area. It will also make the home feel cooler. For new properties, keep an eye on the quality of workmanship, and ask questions if you want to know more.
What impact do nearby properties have on the one you are considering? Do they overshadow your whole back yard and render it dark or damp year round? Or will they impede any future changes you’d likely want to make to the property These factors can have a big impact on how you – or possible tenants – live in the property – and not items that can be easily changed. Other things like features, paint colours and floor coverings are things not likely to be around in 20 years time anyway. Don’t get hung up on them.