As you compose your list of "must-haves" for your next home, make sure you're up for the work and added maintenance expense each item may require. Here are a few things to think over.
1. Wood-burning fireplace
Snuggling by a cozy fire can be sublime, but beware of the splinters that come with maintaining a wood-burning fireplace. There's the bill from the annual chimney sweep, the cost of wood and the hassle of keeping critters from camping out in the pile. Plus, a fireplace can raise your energy bill. A chimney sucks up most of the warmth from a fire, along with some of the room's heated air, according to the EPA.
2. Extensive landscaping
A beautiful garden may draw you to a home, but keep in mind how much work it will be to maintain once you move in. Perhaps you find trimming topiaries a soothing form of meditation. If not, a home with less landscaping may be a better fit.
3. More square footage
Vast rooms with cathedral ceilings come come with soaring energy bills. Unused rooms leech heating and cooling energy from the rest of the house. Keep this in mind if you're considering purchasing a home to grow into.
As you think about what you really must have to make you happy in your next home, talk to a Realtor. He or she will be able to help you understand the cost of different features as well as evaluating them for potential resale value. Find a great agent here.