After Buying 4 Houses, This Is One Overlooked Feature I Always Focus On

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  • I've bought several homes throughout my life.
  • When I purchased my first house, I didn't realize how important storage was.
  • I now look at closet and other storage space as a key priority.

If you're buying a house, you may need to focus on it too.

Over the course of my life, I've purchased several houses, including a custom-designed new build home. I've made some good decisions throughout this process, like making sure I never took out a mortgage I couldn't afford. But, I've also made some bad choices that I've learned from.

Specifically, one of the most important things I've learned is that I need to focus on a particular home feature when considering whether a house is the right fit for our family. It's something I originally overlooked, but is now a top priority.

A crucial consideration in my home-purchasing process 

When I first became a homeowner, I did what many people do. I looked at things like the curb appeal, the design of the kitchen and bath, and whether the house had cute features like a fireplace or bay window.

And, all of these things are still important to me, of course. But, when I was originally shopping for a house before I had moved into one and lived in it for a few years, there was one big thing I did not pay nearly enough attention to: The storage space the home provided.

Because I was so focused on the aesthetics and didn't think to look at storage, I ended up buying a house with just a two car garage, no shed, no basement, and not a lot of interior cabinet space or closet space.

After moving in and living there for a while, I quickly realized I had made a big mistake. The basic fact is, I -- and most people -- need places to put things. I did not want to waste money on a separate storage unit (or have to store stuff off-site and go pick it up) so I ended up with a lot of clutter laying around. 

The house always felt too small, even though it wasn't tiny. And I didn't get to appreciate all of the nice aesthetic features as much because there was too much stuff lying around. 

That cute kitchen backsplash, for example, doesn't look so great when it's obscured by the jars holding utensils there is no drawer space for and the pretty woodworking in the bedroom doesn't show up when you have to stuff your room full of dressers just to have a place to put clothing and towels. 

Now, in purchasing subsequent houses, storage is one of the first things I think about. If it doesn't have it, and I can't easily add it, the house is a hard no regardless of what other great features it offers. 

Don't get hung up on the wrong issues when buying a home 

Ultimately, focusing too much on the aesthetics of a house is likely to set you up for disaster when buying a home. While the look of a place matters, it’s features you can't easily fix -- like a lack of storage or a long commute -- that will ultimately determine your happiness with the property.

So, avoid my mistake. Think about how you'll actually be able to live in the home on a day-to-day basis and focus on the practical as the primary concern. You can always paint or add fancy tilework later, but it's a lot harder to put on an extra garage just to have room for your lawn mower. 

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