Outgrowing Your Home? Here’s What to Look For in a New Home

Chris Muellenbach  |  December 3, 2022

Outgrowing Your Home?     Here’s What to Look For in a New Home

For many people, purchasing their first home was one of the biggest milestones of their lives. Starter homes can hold a very special place in our hearts. Yet as you outgrow your starter home, it can feel like you’re living in a cramped space with nowhere to escape. Many signs indicate you’re outgrowing your home, including lack of storage space, not having enough bedrooms and bathrooms, or not having the large kitchen you really want. 

To solve these problems, many begin the house hunting process. What should you look for in your new metro Milwaukee home? Consider these features while you’re searching. 

Layout is more important than size

Is bigger always better? If you have outgrown your current home, this line of thinking makes sense, but only to a point. While having square footage means you have more room to stretch out, there are so many other factors that come into play when it comes to a home’s functionality. A house’s layout can make or break a property. An open layout with defined spaces makes a home feel larger and more functional and cohesive. In contrast, homes with closed-off, choppy floor plans can make a space feel cramped and uninviting, no matter how large the house is. Focusing on the layout can make a huge difference when searching for metro Milwaukee real estate

Prioritize growth potential 

When touring a home, see beyond what the home currently is and perceive it for what it could be. Even if the home size is perfect right now, will it be perfect five or ten years down the line? How do you know your home will grow with you? One key factor to look for is growth potential. Are there other areas of the home where you can expand your home’s footprint if need be? Is there a basement that is unfinished or semi-finished? Could that space be used as an additional entertainment space, guest suite, or anything else you might need? Is there an unfinished attic space that could be converted into a primary suite? What about the lot? Is it large enough for you to add an addition to your home if you want to build one down the line? Even having the potential to add an additional bathroom or home office can make a significant difference. Any property with the potential to grow with you not only benefits you in the long run but also increases the overall value of your home. 

Seek out storage solutions

There are many reasons homeowners outgrow their homes. It can be too few bedrooms or bathrooms, too choppy of a home layout, or it could be an overall lack of square footage. Yet, one of the most underrated factors behind outgrowing a home has to do with storage. When moving to a new home, one element you should prioritize is storage solutions. Is there enough storage for everything you currently have? Will there be enough storage for the things you might not currently have that you want? 

In the Milwaukee area, for example, there are four distinct seasons. During the spring and summer, many homeowners want to be outside. As such, they buy patio furniture so they can enjoy their backyard spaces. However, patio furniture cannot stay outside year-round, so it needs to be in storage during the winter months. Will your new home have enough storage for your outdoor furniture, as well as your cars, lawn mower, and other items? 

Even within the home’s interior, ample storage space is essential. Is there enough room to keep things neat and organized, or will you be surrounded by clutter? Chances are that storage is one of your main sticking points for why you want to move in the first place. Look for built-ins and other storage solutions within the home. When buying a new home, make sure there are enough storage areas, both for indoor and outdoor living items.

Find multi-purpose spaces

As you grow and adapt, so should your home. This is why it is so important to prioritize multi-purpose spaces in your next house hunt. Look for spaces that can serve multiple purposes, such as bedrooms and entertainment spaces. For example, if you need a home office, make sure there is space for it, whether it’s a designated bedroom or an office alcove somewhere else in the home. If you might need in-law suites in the future, ensure the home has room for it. This could mean switching locations of primary suites, but having additional options could save you major renovations down the line. 

Know your personal and financial limits

While it is tempting to find the biggest home possible, one of the most important things to keep in mind during your house hunt is knowing your limits. Whether it’s personal or financial, pushing yourself beyond your limits can be detrimental to nearly every aspect of your life. Make sure you are purchasing a home that is within your financial means in terms of monthly payments and household budgetary items, such as repairs and property taxes. 

In some cases, homeowners might be tempted to buy a fixer-upper in an attempt to save money and gain space. While a fixer-upper can be a good investment, it could also be quite costly. By investing more money into repairs than you can financially manage, you could be adding an unnecessary burden on yourself and your family. By understanding and respecting your limits, you can find a home that fits your needs today and in the future. 

Are you on the hunt for a home in Whitefish Bay, Mequon, Wauwatosa, or a stylish condo in Milwaukee's Third Ward?

Chris Muellenbach is one of Milwaukee’s premier real estate agents, with over 18 years of industry experience.

Contact Chris today to begin your Milwaukee home search. 

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