Military Home Buyers May 24, 2024

5 Questions to Ask to Decide Your Home’s Must-Have Features

Now that you know the main tenets of how to start the initial preparations for a successful house hunt (see 3 Big House Hunting Tips for Homes Near Wright-Patterson AFB if you missed my best tips), it’s time to dive into what so many of my military home buyers think is the best part of the search—choosing and sorting their must-have amenities. I’m talking about the fun details, like luxury plank flooring and matching marble countertops.

Of course, some of your must-haves are absolutely non-negotiable, like a one-story home instead of several flights of stairs, but some features, like an updated primary bathroom, can be added later if the rest of the property is perfect.


Home Checklist

Must-Have Now

  • Entertaining space on a separate floor from the bedrooms
  • Open concept layout
  • Four bedrooms

Must-Have as Soon as Possible

  • White kitchen cabinets
  • Glass surround shower
  • New carpet



If you need help choosing your must-haves, the following five questions will put you on the right decision-making path. Remember, there’s no right or wrong list—all that matters is your preferences. I’m always here to help you decide what’s best for your timeline and budget considerations.

If you have a PCS planned for Wright-Patt AFB, read my advice in Military Home Buyers: Conquering the Long-Distance House Hunt to help you get started.


1. What Type of Home Do I Want to Buy?

Military home buyers often think they prefer single family detached houses when they start their search. This choice makes sense; there are a lot of perks in this type of home, but sometimes you’ll get more of the overall amenities that you prefer (maybe for less money) if you widen your search to include different styles of homes, especially if the housing inventory is tight or if you’re thinking of renting your home to tenants in the future.

We can talk about the benefits of owning a:

  • Condo
  • Townhouse
  • Loft
  • Duplex
  • Multifamily property with rental units


2. What Layout Do I Prefer?

Regardless of the type of home you prefer, you’ll also have to take into account the layout and your lifestyle needs. There’s a lot to think about.

For example:

  • Do you mind stairs or prefer a one-story ranch?
  • Split-level homes have the best of both worlds: minimum stairs but separate floors.
  • Open floor plans are popular because they’re inclusive but can be loud and lack privacy.

If the choices feel overwhelming, sometimes it’s easier to start with the type of layout you DON’T want, like a house with levels of stairs.



You may also need to consider accessibility needs for yourself or family members. Or, maybe you’re looking ahead to your golden years and want a layout designed for aging at home.

If accessibility matters, you should keep these options in mind during your home search:

  • Wide door frames and hallways for wheelchairs
  • Elevator
  • Modified kitchen
  • Ramps
  • Grab bars
  • Walk-in showers


3. Is Energy Efficiency Important?

As the cost of living increases, many home buyers want solutions for utility bill savings immediately and over the long run. You can easily add many of these energy-saving features after you’ve moved into the home you’ve purchased, but sometimes it’s simpler if the efficiency features like solar panels are already installed. When we meet, I can give you estimates of local utility costs in the areas where you’re considering buying a home.


Here’s a list of energy-saving features to look for now and add later:

  • Air sealing and insulation
  • Energy star appliances
  • Tankless water heater
  • Heat-pump water heater
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Propane or natural gas
  • Pellet stove
  • Low-flow toilets


4. What Features Do I Want in Each Room of the House?

Every buyer has a different wish list regarding specific features and amenities found in each room of the home. Wood floors throughout might be your #1 must-have, but for others, a home with carpeting in the bedrooms to combat cold Ohio winters could be their top pick.

When you’re mulling over your must-haves, give thought to these options:



  • Chef style
  • Pantry
  • Stone countertops
  • Type of cabinetry
  • New appliances
  • Updated lighting
  • Outdoor access



  • Modern finishes like marble floors
  • Upgraded sink and shower hardware
  • Stand-alone tub
  • Seamless walk-in shower



  • En suite with the primary
  • Walk-in closets
  • Sitting area
  • Ceiling fans
  • Carpet


Living Areas

  • Open floor plan
  • Overhead lighting
  • Fireplace
  • Durable flooring
  • Architectural features like crown molding or trey ceiling


Additional Flex Spaces

  • Home office
  • Hobby or playroom
  • Media center
  • Guest room



  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Attic
  • Under the stairs
  • Bonus closets


5. How Important Is Outdoor Space?

Many military families love a large, pretty backyard for kids and dogs to play in for hours, especially during Ohio’s breathtaking fall season. But some home buyers prefer low-maintenance and chore-free outdoor space all year round. The less green space, the better, and they’re happy never to shovel snow again.

Home Checklist

Where do you fall in the outdoor space needs continuum?

  • Small patio
  • Expansive deck
  • Medium yard with a garden
  • An easy-to-maintain green space
  • Acres of land
  • Entertainment oasis with an outdoor kitchen, covered porch, bar area, and TV


Planning your home buying process is exciting, especially when deciding on your most important amenity and feature details. I know you’ve been planning and dreaming of the day when all the dots connect, and it’s the right time to buy a house. I hope you’ll connect with me so we can find your perfect home near Wright-Patterson AFB.