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Amenities and Essentials

If you are in the process of purchasing a new home, upgrading your existing property, or designing a new property from scratch, you will need to establish a distinction between needs and wants. Whether you are on a monetary budget or restricted by size, some features will increase the value of your home substantially.

As an asset, the residential property should correspond to your needs for functionality and enjoyment and provide you with a value that will make reselling or renting easier and at a higher yield. The amenities within and around the property have a direct impact on this value and should be treated as such.

1. Size: While looking for a property that will offer you the best value for money in terms of size, you need to be aware of your spatial needs and the costs associated with maintaining a home of a larger scale. Going for a bigger home sounds good in theory, but the costs of heating, furnishing, and maintaining a bigger home could hike up your monthly costs significantly. Not to mention taxes and levies that are directly associated with the size of the property.

Purchase a property that serves your needs, keeping in mind your future needs such as having children and needing to accommodate elderly or visiting family members.

2. Kitchen area: Forever a major focal point in a home, it is essential to evaluate the kitchen area with a focused eye. Look at the state of the appliances as they are a costly part of the property. Consider the finishes and cupboards in quality, aesthetic, and size. Pro tip: a pantry will add value to your property.

Do you require an eating area? Weigh up the size, orientation, and direct light that the kitchen enjoys before making a decision.

3. Living and Dining Areas: Are you planning on hosting dinner parties and family events? Your space requirements in these areas of the house depend on your lifestyle, however, there are a few things you should look at regardless of your size requirements, such as the floor materials and finishes and ceiling heights. Consider where you would like to position your electronics and other equipment in order to establish adequate outlets as electrical rewiring would be a costly task.

Pro tip: Fireplaces, hardwood or marble floors and any custom finishes increase the value of the home and play an important factor in heating and maintenance costs.

4. Bedrooms: Besides looking at the number of bedrooms you require, it is important to consider size in terms of fitting furniture, desks, and any other items you want to include in the room. Orientation, natural lighting, closet space, and En-Suite facilities also add value to a residential property.

5. Closets and storage spaces: Closets and storage spaces are considered to be amongst the top value-adding amenities that you should look at. Incorporating enough storage space in residential properties is essential to ensure a functional and organized home that can accommodate changing needs and use of space.

6. Bathrooms: Bathrooms are some of the costliest renovations you can do in a house, so it should be one of the main features you look at with a sharp eye. Any signs of humidity and water damage should be red flags. Additionally, finishes such as carpeting or vinyl can be unsanitary and prone to water damage. Make sure you open any cupboards and storage spaces in the bathrooms, check the condition of the fixtures, and if possible, turn on taps. Quality finished bathrooms will increase the value of the property, and however much you may like bold colors and patterns, these will usually make the house harder to resell.

7. Utility spaces: Besides a walk-in pantry that will surely be utilized to the max, look for utility setups according to the property. These include a laundry room or facilities which are now a must in most residential units. If the property boasts a garden, then a shed or adequate space in a garage will be needed for relevant tools and equipment. And of course, the garage, with two-car garages being the preferred configuration, is a valued amenity, scoring highly on the requirements scale.

8. Outdoor spaces: Gardens, Decks, Swimming pools, and Barbeque Areas are always strong selling and value-adding features of a house, but they should be adequately addressed in terms of maintenance needs and costs. While they are highly sought after in theory, the costs of maintaining these features could slowly be a burden on the homeowner. Ensure that the condition of these outdoor amenities is adequate and will not be needing in-depth maintenance any time soon. Also keep in mind the utility costs of maintaining luscious gardens and a pool, which will be adding to the monthly upkeep costs of the home.

9. Systems: Do you require central heat and air conditioning? Is an alarm system highly rated on your requirements list? Is the water heating system solar or electricity-powered? While some systems like alarms can be easily installed post-purchase, others will require structural and costly modifications.

10. The Neighborhood: Last but not least, it’s not by accident that the most prominent tagline in real estate is “location, location, location”. Whether you decide to abide by the time-tested advice of buying the cheapest house in the best neighborhood you can afford or keeping an eye out for trends and up-and-coming areas, where you decide to purchase property should be a key factor for your decision. In these locales, your property will appreciate in value and you would also benefit from amenities of a higher standard. Cool areas near nightlife might work for some but will not be as convenient when trying to raise a family or work from home. Likely, if you do not own a car, you would need to take into consideration the transit connectivity and the amenities of the area. Make sure you research such facilities as schools and stores and look at the safety of the area.

Home amenity requirements vary depending on your lifestyle, family size and needs, and of course your budget. While some add value to a home, others may offer comfort, convenience, and character. As the housing market evolves with green technology, smart home automation, and multifunctional spaces and furniture, some amenities can become the basic norm as others become irrelevant and obsolete.

Owning a home is a serious and long-term investment and should be treated as such, looking at value, return, future needs, and wants. But it should also be considered in terms of enjoyment, safety, practicality, and warmth.

After all, there’s no place like home!

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