7 Under-The-Radar Features You’ll Want in Your First Home Together
Add these to your wish list before starting the hunt for your newlywed nest.
by Kate Traverson
Ready to buy your first home as a couple? No doubt, you’ve both been keeping wish lists for your humble abode. Some dream features may fall in the “nice to have” category—separate bathrooms, walk-in closets and a swimming pool, anyone? But others—like extra storage space or a digital thermostat—really do make life easier, not to mention save your sanity when you’re sharing space with the one you love. When you finally kick off the house hunt, check out the advanced search tool at ColdwellBanker.com—it lets you look for homes that meet all of your requirements, from fireplaces and AC, to backyards and basements. There’s even a filter for a smart home search, so you can find a place that’s tricked out with the latest technology. Need help sorting out your priorities? Check out our list of essentials you might not have considered.
1. Storage for Everything Yours, Mine and Ours
While the number of bedrooms and bathrooms might be up for debate, one item on the wish list is non-negotiable: storage space. Take it from us, even if you don’t think you need it right now, you’re going to need it down the line (read: when you unload all your wedding registry loot). So before you start shopping, talk it over with your significant other to figure out your individual storage needs. Do you need an attic for all your holiday decorations and other seasonal items? Is a lack of closet space a deal breaker, or is a sizeable kitchen pantry more of a priority? You (and your stuff) will be much better off with a little extra breathing room.
2. Separate Vanities for Toothbrushing Elbow Room
The crack of dawn is so not the time to be bumping elbows and jockeying for position at the bathroom sink—your coffee hasn’t even kicked in yet! If the two of you will be sharing a master bath, save yourself the morning do-si-do and look for a place with dual sinks or even separate vanities. Not only will you both have your own designated space to store your toiletries, you’ll also avoid having to dance around each other to look in the mirror. Getting ready is so much less stressful when there’s no chance of accidentally poking your spouse with your hot curling iron.
3. A Smart Thermostat to Find Your Goldilocks Room Temp
Want a room that’s not too hot and not too cold, but just right? Look for a home with a programmable thermostat (or even install one yourself). The Nest Learning Thermostat takes this “smart home” feature one step further—it programs itself. This clever device remembers which temperatures you like at certain times of day, so after a week of use, it’s got your schedule down pat. Nest can even detect when your cell phone leaves the house and programs an eco-friendly setting while you’re away, or turns itself down at night while you’re asleep. We can’t guarantee it’ll stop your spouse from stealing the covers, but it definitely can’t hurt.
4. Space for Your Hobbies to Keep Boredom at Bay
In order for home to truly be your happy place, you both need room for your favorite pastimes. Before you start your search, think about what that means to each of you. Are you dreaming of a cozy reading nook to house your favorite books, or will you need a basement workshop for all those DIY projects? Talk about which home features you need to make this happen, like a spare guest room or spacious garage, and add them to your wish list. That way, your real estate agent can guide you toward homes that check all the boxes.
5. A Smart Lock So You’ll Never Forget Your Key Again
Sure, hiding your key under a rock means you’ll never get locked out, but it’s also a great way to get your stuff stolen. A home equipped with the August Smart Lock, on the other hand, takes security into the 21st century. The device attaches to the back of a regular deadbolt, and is controlled by your smartphone so you can lock and unlock, create virtual keys for friends and family, or control who comes and goes without ever copying a key. Found a home you love that doesn’t have this cool feature? You can speak to a Coldwell Banker Real Estate professional about purchasing a Smart Home Staging Kit.
6. Low-Maintenance Materials to Spend Less Time Cleaning
Yes, white marble countertops are gorgeous, but spill even a drop of red wine and suddenly, happy hour is a lot less happy. So unless you’re one of those couples that find cleaning relaxing, it’s smart to look for a home with easy-care surfaces that are as durable as they are beautiful. Think: hardwood floors instead of carpet, vinyl siding in place of wood and quartz countertops over marble. These lower-maintenance choices make cleaning quick and easy, so you’ll have more time to focus on the fun stuff. Because the couple that binge-watches together, stays together.
7. A Smoke Detector That Won’t Go Off Every Time You Cook
Confession time: The last time you burned popcorn in your rental kitchen, did you get so annoyed at the smoke alarm that you ripped it off the wall? Ditch the old-school version and look for a home with upgraded digital alarms. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector gives you a quick heads-up before sounding the alarm, so you can use your smartphone to silence it before it wakes the neighbors. In case of a real emergency, it even talks to tell you exactly where the problem is. Plus, the batteries last for years and alert your phone when it’s time to replace (instead of waking you in the middle of the night with that annoying chirp).
For more “smart home” updates to look for in 2017, check out Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s blog.
The Knot and Coldwell Banker Real Estate present Find Your Happy Place, a sponsored series featuring tips and advice to help you find the perfect home for your newlywed life. Visit ColdwellBanker.com to start your home-buying journey.
Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.
Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.