How to Find the Right Home for You

Alice Osborn

Alice Osborn – wife, mother, entrepreneur and home buyer.

Today we will welcome Alice Osborn to Raleigh Real Estate News. Alice is a wife, mother of two, and an entrepreneur. She also is in the process of looking for a new home for her family. In this post she gives us several insights into what she’s looking for in a home and at the end of her post, I’ll lend some guidance to this whole process.


Hi Jason, I’m so glad you asked me to write a guest post for you! I’ve been interested in homes and what to look for in a home since I was about ten. I grew up in Northern Virginia in the 80s and my parents always shared what they liked/didn’t like about a home—most of it made sense. In fact, I helped select our home when I was 12. As an adult, I read interior design books and have written several articles on kitchen and bathroom remodels. So here we go!



Level driveway: Since I have school-age kids I’m looking for a level driveway where they can take off with their bikes and not end up with a concussion. My husband also is a vintage car enthusiast and he can’t worry about his cars’ brakes losing control on the downhill. We had a semi-steep driveway growing up and my brother had a bad accident with his dirt bike thanks to the sharp decline and some sand.

Not by a busy street: With kids I don’t want cars going by 50 miles an hour. A cul de sac would be best, but if that’s not possible then a house on the sidewalk side.

No horrible left turns: Do you want to wait 10 minutes just to make a left turn out of your neighborhood? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Two-car garage without a center column: I’m not the best car parker in the world and I know I’ll scrape my wagon if there’s a center column. I also know that my husband needs an expansive space for his vintage cars.

Small lawn: I don’t have a green thumb and contrary to many homeowners, I don’t like to spend a lot of time outdoors planting my garden. Why? I have fair skin, I’d rather work on my business, play my guitar, play with my kids and I have seasonal allergies. Also, my husband would rather drive his cars on weekends than mow a big lawn. A fenced-in property would be fine for my rug rats, but it’s not necessary since we don’t have dogs.



Bathrooms: We need double sinks in the master bath and double sinks in the kids’ bathroom would also be great. I’d also make sure the shower wouldn’t need to be remodeled and need to know the age of the floor tile. Also, I don’t want the downstairs bathroom anywhere near the kitchen; no one wants bathroom smells next to the food!

Closets: Of course I need a big closet! Right now, my clothes and coats are in every single closet of the house.

Natural lighting: I want to make sure my work area isn’t too bright during the day; I don’t want too much glare on my computer screen. I also don’t want the master bedroom to be too bright.

Kitchen: Sure granite countertops and a kitchen island are nice, but I’m more concerned about the quality of the appliances and if the kitchen triangle is ergonomic. The kitchen triangle is the distance between the oven, refrigerator and sink. You can have a big kitchen with marble and granite countertops, with the fridge and oven at odd angles. I know my family wants me to cook more, not less!

Mud room: With kids, I want their muddy shoes and sand-filled shoes away from the kitchen. I don’t like to mop as it is.


The Neighborhood

 I look for biking, hiking, running trails at a convenient distance from our house. Plus, when you have lots green spaces, you’re more inclined to meet your neighbors walking their dogs and you get to know their kids. I’m not interested in a community pool because I have fair skin and would rather run or walk on the trails surrounding our house. Because I want a postage-stamp yard, I’m not looking at neighborhoods where the next neighbor is a mile away. I want to know my neighbors and I also feel that when the houses are that far apart, there can be security issues.

Convenience to shopping, grocery stores, banks and restaurants are also a big deal for me. I also like to be 10 minutes from a major highway.

That’s about it, Jason! Take it away.

Jason’s Take

Great information, Alice! You hit on a few great points I want to reflect on that I review with home buyers regularly.

Did you know a steep driveway can affect a property’s value between 5-7% on average? Other factors that reflect poorly on a home’s desirability include being located on a busy street or backing up to a busy road. Living by the entrance means that everyone will have to drive by your house to get in and get out of the neighborhood! When the market is hot, it’s not as big of a deal. However, imagine how hard it is to find a buyer when the market slows. The last few years have been tough and buyers were only buying homes that boasted premium features and locations. That is, unless the price was low enough to overcome the objections.

You also mentioned baths and kitchens. These are significant points of value to most home buyers. I can help you find the right kitchen, but I can also help you create the right kitchen! I work with contractors regularly and I can identify projects that will allow you to make the kitchen just the way you want it. When you follow the process, you get what you want and add value to your new home.

Raleigh has a great Greenway system with trails open to walkers and bikers. I can help you map these out so we can look for homes that will allow you quick access to them.


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Contact Jason Graves, Broker and Listing Specialist and his blog at
2701 Rowland Road, Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27615