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  • Writer's pictureChris Muellenbach

Don’t Forget to Choose 7 Non-Negotiables Before You Search For Homes

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the house hunt or pull the trigger on a new property that looks absolutely perfect, but without the proper preparation, one could find themselves trapped in a home completely unsuited for them. Additionally, doing this preparation and research can clue you in on options you never knew existed and wouldn’t have known to look for otherwise. Whether you’re searching for a home in Whitefish Bay, Brookfield, or a Downtown Milwaukee condo, narrowing the list to exactly what you need is a great place to start.

1. Number of bedrooms

This can be one of the most critical things to consider before you start your home search. First, you’re going to want to sit down and carefully consider not only how many people you’re going to have living in your house. You may be planning on growing your family while you're in the home, but sometimes children or other family members needing a place to stay can be a surprise, so it's a safe bet to consider having one to two more than you might think. Secondly, how often are you going to have guests, and how many at a time? Once you’ve figured out a good number, it’s time for the next item on your checklist.

2. Layout

You’ll hopefully only be spending a third to half of your time in the bedroom, so making sure you love the rest of your house is important too. Considerations like handicap access, window placement, and more come into play. Make a list of rooms and potential room ideas that you’d want for your future home. Whether it’s an office, home theater, loft, den, or wo/man cave, it’s important to list out your necessities. Additionally, make sure to choose your kitchen space carefully and think hard about whether you’d prefer the main floor of your house to have an open layout or something a little more segmented. If you've already got a type of floor plan that you prefer or need, that's great! Whether you are looking in Whitefish Bay, Brookfield, or a downtown Milwaukee condo, we are seeing more properties on the market. I recommend touring a few of the homes available for open houses to get a feel for your own tastes.

3. Amenities

A home is much more than just the four walls and roof under which you live. When searching for a home, you want to ensure it is fitted to your every need. Not only should you carefully consider the essential features like the garage size or the property’s move-in readiness, but what else do you want your dream home to have? Do you want your bathrooms to have jetted or sunken tubs, a separate shower, or lighted mirrors? Things to consider can even include pools, privacy, flooring material, and much more. Make sure to have your list of must-have amenities before you start your home search in order to prevent missing out or going through a painstaking and expensive construction process to make up for what your home lacks.

4. Style of home

Not every home buyer is picky when it comes to the style of a home's exterior, but it’s still very important to consider. There is a vast variety of home styles, each with its own unique look and flavor that may not suit everyone. A Mid-Century Modern home could be exciting and stylish for some, while cramped and unattractive for others. We recommend coming up with a list of your favorites as well as ones that you’ll definitely pass on. This can save you a whole lot of wasted time and trouble!

5. Outdoor space

Your connection with your dream home goes far beyond what's inside the building’s four walls. Choosing the right outdoor layout and amenities can mean a world of difference between two equally attractive houses. Outside of the previously mentioned pool, there are dozens of options to consider when choosing what you want for the rest of your home's property. You’ll have to consider what size you want, what kind of landscaping you’d prefer, as well as the yard’s features. If a spot for grilling, a carefully tended pond, or a scenic gazebo sound like a dream come true, make sure to add it to the list!

6. Location

A good location can be what makes or breaks a home. It’s important to take notes on what sort of neighborhood you would like to live in. Proximity to train lines or highways can ruin what could be a perfect home or make transportation easy, depending on your preferences. For example, homes in Whitefish Bay are right by the charming village as well as lakeside parks while condos in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward give close access to museums, food culture, and vibrant breweries. Do you want to live close to a city or be surrounded by quiet suburbia? If you’ve got kids or are planning on having them, make sure to find the best local school district you can as well as a neighborhood with plenty of young families. Restaurant and grocery store access, local community, and even movie theater proximity can be vastly important to different people, so choose the area you’d like to live in carefully.

7. Commute

Building on that note, how far are you willing to drive to work? While work from home and hybrid schedules may have eased that struggle somewhat, a long commute can mean you won’t have the energy to get anything done after a full day's work. Map out exactly where your limits are, and take them into account before you begin your house hunt.

Make sure to list the things you could consider but would prefer to not have separated from your complete non-negotiables. This will help you stay firm on your decisions, as well as organize your thought process and potential choices. Once that’s done, make sure to discuss your plans with your family and hammer out a list that works for everyone and you’re sure to find your dream property. Of course, this isn’t the exclusive list of everything you need to plan for, but it is a good starting point for orienting yourself into the mindset of a pro-house hunter.

Are you or somebody you know ready to take the next step and start looking for a home in Whitefish Bay, Brookfield, a condo in downtown Milwaukee, or anywhere else in metro Milwaukee? Be sure to keep my name and information handy for guidance: Chris Muellenbach, text/call: 414-335-8038 or email,

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