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Home for the Holidays

Maybe it’s the kid in all of us, but each year when December rolls around, there is palpable anticipation in the air – the feeling that something uplifting is going to happen. It’s an expectation of being home for the holidays.

This pervasive excitement tears through grade schools faster than the chicken pox, but expectations also run high in the group of people known as first-time homebuyers.

Whereas school children’s expectations of presents, family get-togethers and delicious food are realistic, many first-time homebuyers anticipate, rightly or wrongly, that in a buyer’s market properties should have a full range of amenities within their budgets.

But even in today’s market, it’s not easy to find that perfectly-fixed-up or new open concept home with a cathedral ceilinged great room, large master bedroom, spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, plus a large fenced-in yard with privacy from the neighbors.

More effectively than a roster of upscale amenities is livable spaces that will bring you and your family together. If you are scouting properties this winter season, here are some things to consider when dreaming of being home for the holidays:

Meals: Holiday happiness often revolves around meals. Do you require a separate dining room for more formal meals or does your family tend to cluster in the family room? Is the kitchen mainly used for cooking or would you prefer to socialize around a kitchen island or breakfast bar?

Recreation: Do members of your family have hobbies or do they congregate around the TV to bond over sports and entertainment programming? Will you need space for a sound system, gaming console or computer? Will the garage need to hold bikes and sports equipment or mainly the car?

Guests: Will your guests need a spare bedroom, or can they use the fold-out couch in the living room? Can a flex space serve as both an office and extra room for visitors? And what about the benefits of having a finished basement for the holidays?

Entertainment: Do you tend to entertain at home or prefer to go out in an area full of restaurants and bars? Do older members of the family enjoy a day of shopping? Do younger ones do better at pools, parks and movie theaters?

We all dream of being home for the holidays and it pays to look at properties with this in mind. Even the most modest starter home can have a special charm of its own when filled with family and friends enjoying the bounty of the season.

“Reprinted with permission from Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, Inc.”

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