When my husband and I first decided to begin our home search in 2021, we knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. With inflation looming, low interest rates and a hugely competitive market, we had no clue if we would even get an accepted offer; but we kept our options open and began the hunt! After the first few tours, it was clear we needed to establish a list of must-haves that were reasonable within our first-time buyer budget. After I made the list, I realized it really wasn’t too complicated.

1.      Green Space
2.      Storage
3.      Room to Entertain
4.      Working Spaces


nullOur main desire for moving into a single family home was direct access to a fenced-in backyard. Our dog absolutely loves being outside and roaming around freely, and as any other millennial, we did buy the house for our dog! For first-time homebuyers, the outdoor space doesn’t need to be huge and immaculate; going from a tiny balcony to any sized yard is a major upgrade. In fact, lower maintenance is better. If water amenities are in conversation, opt for a smaller lap pool or a hot tub instead of a full inground pool. There’s a lot to learn after moving into a house, so keeping the green space simple and low maintenance is key. For move-up homes, a large enough space to entertain, dine and cook are musts.


nullStorage seems to be important to just about every buyer, and it’s continuing to gain popularity as the organization aesthetic grows on television and social media. It was especially important to us as our 2-bedroom apartment was a new construction and contained tons of storage. We were used to having functional storage, so we didn’t want to downgrade on this front.

There’s tons of flexibility to add storage within a plan because it can be incorporated into a lot of different things. It can be an unfinished part of the laundry room, under stair space, or an oversized pantry with a nook. Of course, in modest-sized homes it can be hard to fit extra closets everywhere, but the key is to maximize whatever space there is. Add shelving and different sized compartments to show it’s usable storage. Solid storage solutions throughout a home can really wow all buyers.



This may seem obvious, but the open-concept floor plan has been in question since the start of the pandemic. Although we’re seeing a lot more private spaces, that doesn’t mean the connection between living, kitchen and dining is going anywhere. Creating flow and connection between the inside living spaces and outside living is key for the fresh air and the additional space.

My husband and I love to cook and host, so having space to do both at the same time was really important to us. A bonus would be direct connection to an outside patio and grill area for ease of entertaining larger groups, a place where our friends can bring their pets and have plenty of space to run around! 


nullI began working remotely full time in 2019, so having multiple functional workspaces was critical to our future home. Like many others during the pandemic, I pursued my creative hobby and turned it into a side business. Many homes may function for one individual working remotely, but what about one person having multiple jobs? Mix in other family members and suddenly there’s a need for a variety of spaces to work!

Having two rooms that didn’t share a wall was important to us for noise levels and overlapping meetings. Specifically in my office, I knew I needed room for at least two desks in order to stay focused with work and my side-gig. A desk nook off a pantry or an oversized island would be a great versatile feature to emphasize the work-from-anywhere lifestyle.

In order to be productive, I need energy and light. Energy in the form of caffeine and in the form of electricity!! If there’s an open outlet, I am using it. Just like any typical household, my office has the basics – coffee maker, laptop charger, music speaker and more – so having plenty of outlets was important to us. Another important feature was the amount of light. Large windows offer so much light and openness, especially to modest, first-time buyer homes. If a space needs more light, no worries! We can use our bountiful amount of outlets to plug in a lamp!

Once we narrowed our must-haves to four features, it helped us save time and find THE house for us. Now that I know what it really feels like to make my first home purchase, I’ve found some new favorites among BSB Design’s first-time buyer plans:

Crossings at Meridian
Oakland Trails Bungalows

What do you think? Email me to start the conversation!

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn. View that version here.