When you start house hunting, keep your eyes peeled for our top 10 design features!
It’s no secret that buying your first (or second, or third) home is a stressful and overwhelming process. With today’s competitive real estate market it’s important to avoid these common mistakes and work with a trusted agent to ensure you’re making a sound investment in your next home.
The good news is that buying a new home is also an exciting and life-changing event. Once you narrow down your neighborhood choices, consider school districts, and complete the mortgage pre-approval process – the real fun can begin. Having key features in mind – and understanding how they add value to your home – can help you invest in property that will hold value while meeting your family’s needs.
Our real estate experts at Northern Virginia Home Pro compiled a list of the top 10 design features to consider when purchasing your next home.
1. Energy Efficiencies
Energy efficiencies are trending and can save you money in the long run. Energy efficient windows, doors, and skylights can decrease your heating and cooling expenses drastically. In addition to solar panels, “cool roof” features can reflect sunlight and keep your house naturally cooler in the hot summer months.
Keep your eyes peeled for energy-efficient appliances (microwaves, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc) which can look sleek, lower your bills, and reduce pollution output.
2. Natural Light
Indoor plants and gardens are all the rage in today’s design world. Whether or not you have a green thumb, natural light helps save energy costs and allows your space to appear bright and airy.
Natural light is beneficial for both your wallet and your body! Experts say exposure to sunshine, even in the winter, can combat depression, help you stay calm, and even sleep better.
Natural light in your home can have positive effects on your space, bank account (it saves in energy costs!), and even your health.
3. Outdoor Space
In addition to the health benefits listed above, outdoor space is a major selling point in today’s real estate market. Due to the modern trends in indoor/outdoor lifestyle, a deck, patio, yard, or porch can add real value to your home and become an extended “living room” for your family.
Keep in mind that screened-in porches and double doors opening to the outside can create a combination space (and make your home feel larger) during the warmer months of the year.
4. Outdoor Lighting
Exterior lighting is an important selling point for user-friendly outdoor space – or even the walkway to your front door or garage. Get the most of your exterior with charming light posts, outdoor path lights or strips of hidden LED lights, motion-sensor lights, and even string lighting. Be sure to check for outdoor outlets!
One of the most underrated aspects of a new home purchase is storage space, which can come in a number of shapes and sizes. Garages, attics, and crawl spaces are among the most common true storage spaces. Unfinished basements can also provide storage for larger items and leave options open for future renovation and finishing projects (just remember to ask about flooding history).
Although there are free-standing furniture options, it’s also smart to check that the home has plenty of standard closet space located on all floors of the home.
Especially if you have kids or pets, mud rooms are both trending and practical in the interior design world. These versatile spaces can serve as a classy entryway, coat and shoe storage, pet feeding (and washing) stations, as well as hybrid laundry rooms.
Built-in benches, closets, and shoe storage, as well as tile floors, are key things to look for in an exceptional mudroom.
7. Hardwood Floors
The forever classic hardwood floor is easy to upkeep and clean – especially if you have pets. It’s also attractive and allows for personal interiors touches such as area rugs. Hardwood floors are generally always in high demand in the real estate market, giving your home an edge if you ever do choose to sell.
If you’re looking at older homes, keep your eyes peeled for historic features – which could include wood floors! Although original hardwood floors can appear scratched, there are many options for refinishing wood floors that come at a much lower price tag than installing the floor itself.
8. Open Plan
Many of the most stylish homes on the market offer open plan downstairs areas that can span throughout the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The construction of an open plan living area is one of the most popular remodeling design projects today.
This family- and entertainment-friendly style helps keep the area looking clean, open, and fresh. Consider using area rugs, lighting, and furniture to “divide” up the space in a new way that best suits your family.
9. High Ceilings
Often paired with open plan living spaces, high ceilings really extend living spaces (especially in bedrooms and living rooms) and make any home feel more spacious. This design feature leaves easy-to-work-with space for remodeling projects, should you want to add an addition to your home down the road.
This open plan concept with high ceilings can add to the size of a smaller home. Adding touches like area rugs and this breakfast bar with stool seating can help create user-friendly spaces.
10. Exposed Structural Features
Who doesn’t love an exposed wooden beam or rustic interior brick wall? In addition to providing charm to your space, exposed design structures can show and tell the history of your home. Keep in mind that these features can be painted over (often white) to make them more or less noticeable, should your design taste change.
Come up with your own list of the top five design features you’d like to see in your home. Your agent can use the list to help you quickly find your next dream home!
Author Bio:Darren Robertson is a top-producing licensed REALTOR® in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Valuing service over sales, Darren is known by his clients for both his extensive local market knowledge, as well as his patience and reliability as he helps them on their home buying and home selling journey. Darren is a tech-forward agent who places a heavy emphasis on internet marketing and blogging in his business. When he’s not helping his clients buy and sell homes, he enjoys going on adventures with his beautiful wife and two little ones, strategy games, movies, red wine, and traveling.