If you’re like many families right now in the real estate market, you’re on the hunt for more than just another house. You’re in the market for a place you and your family can fall in love with. You’re looking for your dream home.

At JB Goodwin, we know as well as anyone that searching for the right home can feel daunting. Many families don’t even know where to start.

Even people with a vivid dream home in their minds don’t always know how to translate their ideas to a real estate agent.

After all, what does it mean to find your dream home anyway?

While some surface level characteristics will distinguish your search from the search of another family, there are many elements everyone looks for in their dream home. To help narrow your search, we’ve laid out those universal characteristics.

Use these to begin your search and stir your creativity:

1) Safety for you and your loved ones

When it comes to finding a dream home, safety is among the essentials.

Safety is the beginning of comfort. Your house should be the place where it is most natural to be yourself, no matter who is there or what else happens to be going on in the world. Your home should be a source of protection.

There are practical ways to ensure your home’s safety. Begin by researching the neighborhood you’re considering. Keep in mind potential weather dangers such as houses near floodplains. Talk with your Realtor about homeowner’s insurance policies for various homes and ask what they recommend based on the location and features of your home.

Life is too complicated to completely avoid worry or pain, but a dream home should be a source of comfort, especially when life gets rough.

2) A place where you can settle down

Location, location, location.

Finding a dream home means purchasing a house where you can picture yourself happy in the long term. For many of us, it is where we expect to raise our children, invest and be invested in by a seasoned community, and grow with our loved ones.

Long-term decisions can feel intimidating. For many of us, trying to plan for the distant future causes many “what ifs” to rise to the surface, making it a challenge to make decisions.

Plan with the future in mind. If you expect to have children, consider that when you look at houses with varying numbers of bedrooms and common spaces. Ask your Realtor about the local school district if you plan to send your children to public schools.

If you love city living, find a place where you’ll always feel like you’re part of the action of the city. If you prefer the quiet, that preference will probably be consistent for you from year to year. If you’re ready to buy a house, count on finding a place as busy or quiet as you want today. You’ll probably still be satisfied with that level of noise for years down the road.

3) Professionally fulfilling

There is a gulf between what it means to just work a job and what it means to find a meaningful and fulfilling vocation. The difference is not in the role or company itself, but in what that role and company mean to us. It is an extension of our values and priorities.

Research to assess how easy it will be to find fulfilling and lucrative work within your field. If you expect to do a lot of work from home, find a home with good office space. The design of that room now matters less than the amount of space. You can develop an office you love with time.

If you’ve decided to call Central Texas your long-term home, the job market is booming with opportunities in diverse fields. Look carefully at the local job market to see if your field and role seem represented.

4) Caters to your design

Houses become homes through the little details, designs, and quirky characteristics that are unique to your place. Keep it simple, extravagant, light, or eclectic. The choices are yours. Space is yours to define through design.

Take some time to sit down and think about the design elements that make you feel most calm, comfortable, and yourself. If you want light and airy, don’t buy a home with limited natural lighting. If you want rich and dark features, don’t settle for a high, lofty living room with whitewashed walls and bay windows. For now, the layout of the home is more important than features like color. You can always repaint, but changing a floor plan or adding rooms is costly and time-consuming.

5) Empowers your leisure time

What hobbies fill your free time? If you ask a book-lover about their dream home, you’ll probably hear about the walls of books that’ll envelop many of its rooms. If you ask a film buff, they may describe the layout of a dark, quiet viewing room, with proper sound, a comfortable couch, and a projector to host screenings of their favorite films. Shoe-lovers will need a closet big enough to store all their favorite footwear.

In other words, dream homes empower our free time. No matter how quirky, niche, or challenging your hobbies or collections, find a home that gives you the space to enjoy what you most love.

6) Surrounds you with a community that shares your interests

This one goes hand in hand with the previous point. Hobbies are better with a friend. We all need at least one person with whom we can proudly confide our favorite pass times.

Fortunately, Central Texas brings with it a sweet, southern kindness. Finding a close-knit community close to home is valuable to anyone looking for their dream home. Central Texas is a great place to conduct your search, and there are diverse communities to connect within the Austin and San Antonio areas.

As you look for a house, feel free to check out apps like Nextdoor. People within your community may share many of your hobbies. Feel free to introduce yourself on the app and comment on the fun things that others are doing. Facebook groups are also ideal for building similar connections.

7) A place that makes you come alive

It isn’t enough to feel safe. A good life isn’t one that’s lived in a state of defense or just in the avoidance of what’s bad.

A dream life is also one packed with thrills, surprises, and experiences of magic. In other words, a place with plenty to do for people of all ages and interests. It’s the location of your home and the people who share your community that make the roof above your head more than just a protection from the rain.

These elements make living a joy, and memories worth remembering and retelling. Find a space that you and your family can fully inhabit and cherish year in and year out.

Are you in the market for a home? A JB Goodwin agent can help locate a house that satisfies the needs and caters to the lifestyle of your family. Beautiful homes are available in Austin, San Antonio, and their surrounding cities. Find the one that’s best for you. We’re happy to help.

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