(BPT) - Call this the age of personalization. You can customize practically anything these days, from the kind of information you get on your favorite news feed and the offers you receive from your bank to the icons, background and sounds on your smartphone. Personalizing something really makes it feel more 'yours,' so of course you want to be able to do that to your first home.
If you're shopping for your first home, you may already know what you want to do to personalize it. However, you may not be aware that certain features can make a home easier and more affordable to customize after you've moved in. For example, if you think you'll need room to expand for a growing family down the road, it will be cheaper in the long run to buy a home with an attic or basement that you can finish into living space than to try and build on an addition from scratch.
As you're shopping for your first home, keep in mind these elements that will help make it easier and financially feasible for you to make your new home truly your own:
Architectural bones that are right for you
What's your personal style? Do you favor a mid-century modern look? Art-deco? Craftsman? Colonial? It's important to choose a home in a basic architectural style you love, because while you can affordably change the color and landscaping, it's much harder to create a whole new look. Look for exterior features that play up the home's architectural style, and then think of ways to customize them down the road. For example, simply painting the gingerbread trim on your Victorian style home in a different color can celebrate the look you love while making it your own.
Energy efficient lifestyle features
Green considerations and energy efficiency are top priorities for many of today's first-time homebuyers, so it's important to look for a home that has conservation-minded features like a high-efficiency water heater or low-flow showerheads. The best eco-conscious home features, however, will also enhance your lifestyle. Upgrades like Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights like those from Velux America provide natural light plus passive ventilation, helping to cut energy costs while reducing dependency on artificial light and ventilation sources.
If you buy a home that already has skylights, you can personalize them by adding energy efficient blinds in designer colors and patterns.
And if you add solar powered skylights to the home, it's easy and cost-effective since there is no cost for electrical work to operate the units. Solar skylights, blinds and installation costs are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit. A programmable touchpad remote allows you to adjust the amount of light entering through the venting skylights and also to adjust the blinds with the touch of button. The skylights close automatically in case of rain.
You can also easily and affordably add more natural light to interior spaces like hallways and closets with Sun Tunnel tubular skylights, which can be installed by a handy DIYer in a few hours. Visit www.whyskylights.com
to learn more.
Room to grow
More Americans are living in multi-generational homes. Whether you plan to grow your family by having kids, moving your aging parents in with you, or adopting as many pets as you can fit in your house, you may find you'll need more space in your new home before you're ready to move out of it. Homes that have unfinished basements and/or attics will be easier to customize for your growing space needs. Converting an attic or basement
into living space can cost much less than having an addition built on your home and attics are perfect spaces to easily add light and fresh air with skylights or roof windows.
A price that lets you add value
Popular renovation and fixer-upper shows make it easy to understand the idea of finding a home at a price that will allow you to add value. A home that needs some renovation and upgrading will likely cost less than a comparable new home, but it also affords you the opportunity to extensively personalize your space. If you buy a home that needs work for a price well under your budget limit, you can use the extra money to invest in renovations that put your personal stamp on your home. In addition to customization for additional enjoyment, those upgrades will also allow you to instantly add value to your home.