7 Upgrades to Help Your Next House Feel Like Home


When looking to buy a new home, are there certain amenities that are important for you to have? If so, you should communicate this to your realtor. You may not realize it, but when a realtor searches for homes on the Multiple Listing Service, he or she can search on the basis of multiple criteria. What this means for you is that if there is an amenity you are particularly interested in, your realtor can search specifically for listings that include that feature.

Here are some examples of amenities that homebuyers frequently look for. If amenities such as these are important for you to have, you can ask your realtor to search for them specifically.

1. Handicapped Accessibility

People who require the use of a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair or a cane, can have trouble getting around many homes. The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that public buildings be accessible, but not private homes. Nevertheless, many homes are either built specifically for accessibility or retrofitted when an owner or resident has a need. Homes that are handicapped accessible are likely to feature that information prominently in the listing.

2. Safe

A home safe with a secure vault door can be an extremely useful feature. It can be used for storing items of value, firearms, or important estate planning documents, such as your will or advance directive. Be sure that you obtain the key or the combination required to open the safe upon taking possession of the home. However, do not ask for it before the previous owners have moved out.

3. Hardwood Floors

With their timeless beauty, hardwood floors are always a desirable amenity. However, they have increased in popularity in recent years, especially among younger homebuyers. There are two different types of hardwood floors. Engineered wood flooring is a hardwood veneer over alternative flooring materials. If you particularly want original, authentic hardwood, your realtor should be able to search specifically for homes that contain it.

4. Laundry Room

You can have your washer and dryer anywhere there are the necessary hookups. However, many people want a dedicated laundry room. It is particularly convenient if the laundry room is on the main floor. That way, you do not have to navigate stairs while carrying heavy baskets and hampers. It is also of benefit for people who are elderly or disabled.

5. Walk-In Closets

Once considered a status symbol and a luxury item, walk-in closets are now a standard feature in many newer homes, at least in the master suite. Architects and builders recognized the demand and responded to it accordingly. There are practical advantages to a walk-in closet. For example, it helps you organize and manage your wardrobe more effectively. If you want a walk-in closet, be aware that they are very rare in older homes. If vintage charm and walk-in convenience are both on your wish list, you may have to sacrifice one for the other.

6. Two-Car Garage

A two-car garage is almost as highly valued an amenity as a walk-in closet. Like a walk-in closet, a two-car garage was once considered a luxury. However, for many families, it is now a necessity. Extra space may be needed for two passenger vehicles, a recreational vehicle, or simply extra storage space.

7. Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient appliances help preserve natural resources and reduce carbon emissions while also decreasing monthly energy bills. Whatever the motivation, you may be looking specifically for a home that has energy-efficient appliances or other features, such as windows that prevent air leaks and/or block ultraviolet radiation from getting into the house.

Searching listings for amenities also works the opposite way too. If there is a feature that you do not want in your home, your realtor can do a search to specifically exclude listings that include that term. For example, say you prefer hardwood floors and absolutely do not want any carpeting due to allergies. You can ask your realtor to find listings for you that include the term "hardwood floors" and do not include "carpet."

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