Are you a first time home buyer and feel confused as to what you should look for while viewing properties? Have you purchased a house and starting to realize that you may have overlooked some key features to the home before you signed on the dotted line? Well today that ends. As a current buyer I am realizing that the kitchen in particular has a lot of things to look for. It is known as the heart of the home. People gather around the island for the holidays, have conversations over late night snacks, and even find peace spending all day baking for events. We are going to explore five things to look for in the kitchen when buying a home.
Does the layout work for you?
I find this one to be the easiest to answer. When you walk into the kitchen you will know right away if you like the flow of things. Take a walk around to see if you like where things are located. These would include the oven, cooktop, refrigerator, and sink. Do you see yourself having a hard time navigating while cooking? Is it efficient or do you picture yourself having to run around the whole kitchen to accomplish anything? I tend to enter a kitchen and imagine what simple tasks like going to the refrigerator to grab something would look like.
While looking at houses, try to remember to bring a tape measure. This is a great tool for the entire house, but it is an invaluable resource determining if you have enough space to move freely in the kitchen. While looking at the layout of the kitchen, take a few measurements of the walking room. Try to envision where the majority of traffic flow will be, and see if there is space to move around. The kitchen is for entertainment as well, so where does that particular kitchen guide people to congregate? A good amount of space for walking is around 40″ or more. This allows for people to comfortably move through the room without congestion.
What is the overall condition of the cabinetry?
It may feel overwhelming when you walk into a room with cabinets and you are unsure what to look for. Don’t worry you are not alone. Cabinets come in many shapes, forms, and materials. How do you determine if they are good, or if they will have to be replaced? The first thing I look at is the condition of the doors, drawers, and check for the hinging. Are the doors falling off the hinges, or are they falling apart from wear and tear? Perhaps they are in great shape and you will not need to replace them. Take a few minutes to open and close the cabinets to see if they function properly. Again, take pictures of anything you see that looks like it may need work. This way if you have questions you can reach out to your local cabinetry company to find out what it would cost to fix or replace.
Is there enough storage?
While looking at the overall kitchen, try to picture your storage needs. With the existing kitchen space, will you have enough room to fit your pots, pans, plates, etc. into the cabinets? Kitchens with a pantry or island lend a hand with extra space. If there is no pantry, check to see if there is a closet or space to introduce one. If there is not enough room in the current layout, try to picture a new layout that can accommodate more space. Taking pictures of the existing walls will allow a contractor to tell you what it would take to open the space. Perhaps there is a wall that can be knocked down to expand your room. Licensed professionals are a great tool to help you better understand the opportunity in each kitchen you look at. Updated kitchens increase the value of your house, so make sure that you utilize each inch of space you can.
Are the appliances in good shape?
When in doubt, try them out. When sellers list their property on the market they tend to include the appliances and fixtures such as lighting, sinks, dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators. The best way to make sure they are in working condition is to turn them on and see how they run. If you are unsure of the condition you may look up the model numbers, check reviews, or even have a licensed professional explain what to look for. Updated appliances are a great way to add value to your future kitchen.
Is the plumbing and electrical in good working condition?
Most home buyers have someone they really depend on for their household plumbing and/or electrical. They may or may not be at the showing of your potential new home. That’s okay, there are many things you can do to inspect on your own. When you walk into the kitchen, turn on the lights and let that faucet run. If the sink drain leaks then you know there is an issue that will need to be fixed. While checking out the electrical, look to see outlet locations. If you do decide to put an offer in on the house the home inspector will take you around the house and check out the electrical panel. Remembering that safety is key, it is always a safer solution to have an electrician check the ins and outs of the property. Simply checking the outlets and switches when you visit the home is a good way to get a sense of the state of the electrical.
These five items will be a good way to figure out if that kitchen fits your lifestyle. Home buying will be stressful, but with the proper tools and knowledge, you can really enjoy the experience and develop a better understanding of what to look for. Just relax and if you ever have a question don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for advice.