When you are looking for a new home to purchase, you undoubtedly have a wish list for features you and your family want in a property. Some of these items fall under the heading of wants instead of needs. But you should have a few things on your list that are really non-negotiable, particularly if you plan to live in the new house for an extended period of time.
You need to have a minimum number of bathrooms in mind and stick to that requirement. If you find a home that you love but that needs another bathroom or two, do not fall into the "we can add one later" trap. You may be able to add one later, but you also might not have the financial means to do so. Life is full of unexpected and often expensive surprises that require the use of your savings. A bathroom addition can cost somewhere between $3000 and $25,000, depending on whether you convert an existing space or have to add a room. You can expect to recoup at least half of that in added house value, however, if you ever decide to sell. When you really need a certain number of bathrooms to live comfortably, don't settle for less when you're initially looking for a property for sale.
Garage or Carport
If you own a vehicle or two, a garage is really a necessity for several reasons. First, keeping your car sheltered helps to protect your investment. The weather takes its toll on your vehicle's finish and leaves it at the mercy of hail storms. An attached garage or carport also protects you and your children from the elements, which may not be a necessity, but it certainly makes life more pleasant in the winter. Another excellent benefit of a garage is that it can sometimes double as a home office or workshop, essentially adding to your home's square footage without having to construct an addition. If you decide to sell your home at some point, a garage will make it more attractive to prospective buyers as well. Some fabulous houses, particularly older ones, may not have a garage. You should think twice before purchasing one if you own a car, truck, or SUV.
Some features of a home are negotiable, but others are simply necessary for your comfort. Make a list of must-haves as well as a list of would-likes. Present it to your real estate agent so that you will both be on the same page. Your home search will go much more smoothly if you do.