What do you look for when you are shopping for a new home to buy or rent? Many people go house hunting without really stopping to think about their lifestyle needs. I've learned it really pays to sit down and think about your most important needs and make a list. With that list in hand, it's much easier to find what I need when I'm out shopping to rent or buy my next house. As the years have passed, my list of requirements has changed dramatically. When we bought our first house, I really wanted a formal dining room. It seemed so elegant. We got it, but eventually we turned it into a computer room – a much more practical use of space for our growing family.
The second time we were in the market to buy property, all we really cared about was finding a home with four bedrooms so each of our kids could have their own room, as well as a family room that was away from the front door. Those were on the primary list, though we did have some other goodies on the secondary list. After weeks of searching we finally found a lovely one that fit the bill. It was great, we got everything on our primary list, several things on the secondary list and we loved it. That particular house had a laundry area in the family room, though, and I realized I really missed my separate laundry room.
The third time we moved I was older, my parents were older, and I knew that, due to my dad's Parkinson's Disease, they might move in with us eventually. Even if they didn't the new items were necessary for visits as well.
My list then included wider halls for wheelchairs, which meant measuring different sized wheelchairs – from a transport wheelchair to a motorized wheelchair. Grab bars were also at the top of the list. I put them in each bathroom and discovered they were quite handy for all ages. I also put a separate laundry room on the list, as it makes for a much quieter environment. With aging parents and growing grandchildren, any bit of quiet I could find was wonderful.
For this last move, to an area with a lot of basements, my senior mom and I developed yet a different list. We realized we needed at least one bedroom and one bathroom on the ground floor, along with the kitchen and a laundry room or laundry area. We also needed easy access to the outside that didn't require many, if any, steps and, ideally, sidewalks for our walks. One last item on the primary list was a third bedroom for grandchildren and other family members.
That proved to be harder than I thought in our new area. So many of the houses I looked at were either two story homes with all the bedrooms upstairs or they had a basement with the laundry room down a long stairway. We kept looking though, stuck to the list and did a lot of praying. God did, indeed, provide us with a lovely home in a nice neighborhood that exactly fit the requirements on the primary list. I'm back to having a laundry area again, instead of a separate room but I have much quieter appliances and the trade off has been well worth it. I'll just have to find a good laundry cart. I still don't have a formal dining room, nor do I miss it. Instead I have a great room that works wonderfully for grandchild visits and craft projects.
Having a list of very specific requirements really helps Sandwich Generation house buyers to find a home that will work well with aging parents and grandchildren. How about you? If you are currently looking to buy or rent a home, have you made a list of your primary and secondary needs for you, your senior parents, and maybe even grandchildren or children who are still at home? What's on your list?