|Choose your 'home sweet home' by
lifestyle and price
When it comes to buying the perfect
home, there's no such thing as "one type fits all."
A young couple planning a family might want a suburban
house with a huge yard for romping dogs and youngsters. A single
professional who racks up record frequent-flyer miles might consider
a low-maintenance condo a "home nirvana," while an empty-nest
older couple might find their perfect abode in a planned community
that offers extra amenities for seniors.
The one thing all of these folks have in common is
that they are part of a growing trend: buyers who are considering
their lifestyle needs -- not just a house's price tag -- when they
choose "home sweet home."
Fortunately, today's market offers housing options
to suit every buyer's fancy, from traditional single-family homes
to urban lofts, condominiums and townhouses.
While some people jump into the home-buying process
with a very clear vision of the ideal type of home for their families,
a Realtor in Cincinnati, says most of her clients are still working
"I spend a lot of time asking questions about
how they live and how it might influence the home they choose,"
explains Hankner. "Are they planning a family? Do they routinely
have out-of-town visitors? Do they need a formal room for entertaining?
Do they enjoy yard work? The answers make a huge difference in the
type of home that will fit them best."
Harris of Ashland, Ore., agrees that developing your home wish
list goes far beyond selecting the ideal number of bedrooms and
" To pick the right house, you really need
to evaluate your own personality," says Harris. "Are you
an orderly person who likes to look out your window and see that
all of your neighbors' yards are neatly trimmed? You might enjoy
a home in a planned development with landscaping guidelines. Do
you want your home to be a refuge, where you can relax without having
to do a lot of yardwork? If so, a condo or townhouse might be perfect.
"Or maybe you want your house to express
your individuality -- and you don't want any limitations on the
way you do so," says Harris. In that case, a single-family
home with no homeowners association would be a better option.
Another big issue when choosing your ideal home is
privacy. "Some folks are comfortable living 'cheek to jowl,'
or very close to their neighbors, as in a condo," says Harris.
"Others are not, and need the space that a traditional home
on a big piece of land can provide."
Last but not least, consider how much time you want
to spend driving. "Many buyers choose a particular neighborhood
because it is close to work or, in the case of older parents, close
to where their children live," says Dick
Gaylord, a Realtor in Southern California's desirable Long Beach
area. "If the buyers are set on a specific area, that's great,
but they may have to choose the kind of home that is most available
-- and affordable -- in that neighborhood."