Buying a house for yourself and your family is often one of the most important decisions you will take in life. The process itself has its share of hassles and headaches. However, that never prevented anyone from dreaming and then actually setting up a home for oneself. It is one of humankind’s earliest longings. Even today’s globetrotters who travel to and live in several places during their lifetime like to have a place for themselves that they can aptly call home, for as Dickens says, “Every traveller has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”
But what is a perfect home, if there can ever be a thing like this? It is that place where you would come back to at the day’s end or from all your journeys abroad. It will give you peace, assurance and will help you feel rejuvenated to meet the world once again on the morrow. Frankly, there cannot be any place which will consistently give you such pleasures which themselves have become quite elusive with the passage of time. But you can certainly buy a house or apartment where you can feel relaxed and comfortable. So what is the process of choosing the right abode for yourself and your family? Let us try to simplify.
What kind of architecture suits your personality most? Do you find traditional two storeyed arts and crafts houses to be more fascinating? Or, are you enamoured by the skills of modern architects who seem to build almost endless varieties of modish contemporary style houses? Also, which type of house is more suitable for the site where you are about to set up your abode? Half timbered houses that can be seen aplenty in the medieval cities in Europe may not be feasible for Singapore due to lack of appropriate raw materials and, to some extent, the skills of local craftsmen.
Similarly, building a sprawling bungalow in the heart of the city may not be a realistic dream, unless such a property is currently available in the market. But with slight adjustments, buy a style of house or apartment that you will like to live in year after year. If you are building from a scratch this becomes easier. If opting for an existing structure, also check how much renovating does it need; if it has any structural weakness that is not easily remediable; if it is airy and lets plenty of natural light in and so on.
Like all buying decisions, you purchase will be highly influenced by your budgetary constraints or the absence of it. Depending upon its flexibility you can plan for a more opulent set up of a humble abode. Can you afford to buy a large enough apartment in the most hip and happening part of the city. Or, does your budget require you to find a location close to the suburbs.
Also, is this your primary home that you are planning to invest in or a weekend getaway? While for daily necessities you may require to live closer to all kinds of modern facilities, for holiday homes you can enjoy a greater liberty in choosing a locale.
This is an extremely important consideration. Staying in a place reasonably closer to offices, schools, market places and medical facilities have many advantages. You will save on time, money that you spend on conveyance charges and plenty of hassles that you would incur on the way.
Such locations will also have better resale values, something that you should keep in mind even if you have no future plans of shifting to anywhere else from there. On the other hand, if you are thinking of buying a retirement property you can afford to be “far from the city’s madding crowd”, but not too far away from facilities such as shops, restaurants, recreational facilities and hospitals.
You will also have to research on the type of neighbourhood, opportunities of meaningful socialisation and quality of lifestyle on offer. Check if the area is prone to flooding during the rainy season; is neat and tidy, has fair share of parks and / or playgrounds; has consistently high quality electricity, mobile telephone and internet connectivity.
Though it may sound strange but nearly no one in Asia could be persuaded to buy a home without scanning its history thoroughly. It is much like buying a second hand car, where many of us would carefully check for occurrences of mishaps, accidents etc. Not only the house’s history, but also that of the plot, placing of a house on a plot and the shape of the plot are taken into considerations before buying a home.
These are part of ancient traditions that aim to make your house an abode of peacefulness and joy. If you are a believer in these practices you will have to do a bit of delving into the history to ensure that the house you are about to buy fulfils your criteria in these regards.
How big a home do you need for yourself? This apartment occupies only 35 sq metres area. It is refurbished by Studio Volkov for a couple and looks every bit as gorgeous as a spacious townhouse. When two people find themselves greatly in love, any setting however modest in size feels expansive.
Such an apartment as this could be sufficient for one or two people who remain busy at his or her workplace for a major part of a day. This may also be enough for those who require a place to live in for a short period of time, such as the modern global pilgrims. Their stay in any place seems to be at best transitory. But for a bigger family, more space will be required to stay comfortably for a longer period of time. If you have toddlers at home, remember, they will grow up in a few years time and will also need their own private places, studies etc.
The same can happen with your parents or other senior members of the family who decide to move in with you at their advanced ages. If you frequently welcome and entertain guests at home, you will require additional suites for them too. Things become slightly easier if you can afford a plot size that has room for future expansions. You can build additional rooms or full fledged cottages on the same ground according to the evolving needs.
Investing in real estate is a common practice nowadays and many people spend money in buying homes for future yield and not to live in it. If this is you aim, then location becomes all the more important. Buying apartments or houses in London, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore or other such premier places around the world is always expected to pay large dividends in years to come.
You will also have to think if this is meant for a short term or long term investment. Certain upcoming markets may pay larger returns in shorter period of time, while the established markets will yield greater benefits in a longer period. The house that you are about to own and is considering to turn into your permanent dwelling, may also prove to be a good investment financially later on when the time is ripe for you to move on to a different location altogether.
Perhaps, you are at the beginning of your career and all you require is a comfortable shelter for yourself. Neither can afford nor do you need to invest hefty amounts in buying a home at the moment. Perhaps, your work or business frequently takes you to places and you hardly settle down in a place long enough to have an elaborate house. All you need is an anchor point to return to and also keep your belongings.
May be, you are settled with a steady income and a house for yourself and your growing family. But you need someplace to escape to during the weekends and refresh your mind and body. Stating your priorities clearly to yourself will help you to avoid the common pitfalls of house hunting.
Poet Kobayashi Issa thought it to be “a strange thing! To be alive beneath cherry blossoms.” Henry David Thoreau’s practices of a simpler living are well documented in Walden. You may share their enthusiasm in leading a simple life as close to nature as possible. Feeling of happiness comes from within and a simple country cottage has all the elements of a grand palace like setting if you just look at it that way. So analysing yourself closely before you take such an important step as buying a house would be highly rewarding.
To have more ideas of setting up such comfortable dwellings, have a look at this Milanese townhouse.