Our tastes change as we get older. Our needs can as well. The clothes that we loved two years ago may look terribly dated now. If we’ve gained or lost weight, they may not even fit anymore. Clothes are fairly easy to replace, but bigger purchases are not. If you get a car and change your mind in six months, you’ll have to go through the whole song and dance of selling it and looking for a new one. That’s doubly true if you buy a house only to decide that it doesn’t work for you a few months down the road. But most of us don’t want to spend our lives buying and selling houses (the few people who do already have their own shows on HGTV). So when you’re looking at real estate, it’s really important that you buy a house that can grow and change with the times.
Find pros who will work with you
House-buying isn’t something you should attempt on your own. There are too many possible land mines you could run into if you try to do it singlehandedly. You’ll need well-trained real estate agents to walk you through the process. Once you’ve narrowed down the town or towns where you want to live, you should be able to pick up the phone and say, “Show me homes for sale in Montgomery.” And your real estate agent should be able to put together some viewings in Montgomery pretty quickly, hopefully because he or she knows Montgomery incredibly well after so many years spent selling houses in that area.
Real estate professionals know that your life could look very different in five or ten years’ time. In fact, it could look different in just a year. Ask to see homes with flexibility. In other words, you’ll want rooms that can be turned into something else quickly and easily. Sure, that nice room in the back corner of the house might be a study today, but it can also easily be converted into a nursery. A room with plenty of windows and sunlight can be used as both a guest room or a playroom for the kids. Seek out dynamic spaces rather than static ones. When your agent shows you a home, walk around it and think of all the different things it could be. If you have trouble imagining those possibilities, it may not be the right house for you.
Don’t break any laws
Keep local zoning regulations in mind, too. You may look at the two-car garage and imagine converting it into a dining room, but local ordinances may dictate otherwise. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any potentially troublesome homeownership association regulations. Not all HOAs are meddlesome nuisances, but a simple Google search will reveal enough horror stories to last a lifetime. Make sure you can update your house without needing approval from eight different committees and councils.
If you can’t find a home that you think will meet both your present and future needs, it may time to consider building your own home. This is an option that will cost you more time and money, but if you’ve got a particular vision in mind, it may be worth the extra expense.