With so many variables to consider and options to choose from, buying a home is likely the most complicated purchasing decision you’ll ever have to make. And choosing a green home demands even more consideration.
It’s unlikely to find a home that satisfies every single need, so try to find one that accommodates most of your needs, right now. As you go through this list, keep in mind that needs change, so what is important to you today may not be 10 years from now.
(download PDF for viewing on tablet/ebook reader or printing)
Style of Home / Type of Community
> Do you want a house, townhouse, mobile home or condo?
> If house, detached, semi-detached, duplex?
> Do you want to live in a cohousing, ecovillage or another type of intentional community?
> How large of a home do you want (in sq. ft. or square m.)> How many bedrooms do you want?
> How many bathrooms do you want? How many pieces?> Do you need a driveway? If so, single, double (or larger)?
> Do you need a garage, carport or none? If so, single, double (or larger)?
> What size lot do you want?
> How big of a front and backyard do you want? (fenced?)
> Do you want a fireplace or other amenities?
> Do you want a patio? If so, how big?
> Do you need wheelchair access or other special accommodation?
> Do you want other buildings such as a shed or barn?
> How much storage do you need?
>Do you have animals? If so, what are their needs?
> Do you need heating and air conditioning?
> What kind of flooring would you like? (i.e. hardwood, tile, carpet)
> How much natural light do you need?
> Do you need any special rooms, such as a workshop?
> Do you want a special view? If so, of what?
Green Home Features
> How do you want to heat and cool the home? (i.e. wood-burning oven, geothermal, solar)
> How do you want to heat your water? (i.e. solar hot water)> How will you deal with water and waste? (i.e. rainwater harvesting, graywater, composting toilets)
> How efficient do you need your fixtures and fittings to be? (i.e. low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets)
> Are the home’s building materials a concern? (i.e. FSC-certified wood, bamboo, cork)
> Is the home outfitted with ENERGY STAR appliances?
> How much of a footprint are you willing to live with (i.e. was the home built on environmentally sensitive land? What materials was it built with and how much waste did it produce?)
> How long do you want your home to last? Was it made with durable building materials? (i.e. earth)
> Do you want a greenhouse?
> Do you want water-efficient landscaping (xeriscaping).
> Do you want property that has been kept organic / non-toxic pest control (how long has the land been like that?)
> Do you want to live in a low, medium or high-density neighbourhood?
Home Health and Indoor Air Quality
> How important is indoor air quality to you? (i.e. enhanced air ventilation, high quality filters, occupancy sensors)
> Is the home you’re looking at located near an electromagnetic source such as power lines, power plant or highways that will disrupt your health?
> Does it matter if the home has (or has had) mould or a pest infestation?
> How well insulated of a home do you want? (better insulation means less drafts and less heating/cooling)
> How much quietude do you need? (are there highways or airports nearby? Is the home soundproof?)
> How much natural light do you require? (i.e. big windows, skylights)
> Do you need to be close to a cell tower (important if you don’t plan on getting a home phone)?
> How far are you from the Internet broadband server?
> If located far away from these services, can you get satellite?
> Is the home wired with fibre-optic and audio cables?
> Are there any security systems in place?
> Are you willing to do renovation? If so, how much will that cost and will it be worth your time to do it or find a place that’s ready to move in.
> Are you willing to replace the roof and appliances soon? (when will they need to be replaced?)
> How old of a home are you willing to purchase?> How much can you pay in routine maintenance costs?
> How much can you pay in utilities (water, gas, hydro)> How much can you pay in taxes?
> How close do you want to be to shopping and community amenities (i.e. library, basketball court, swimming pool)?
> Do you want public transportation to get to those amenities?
> How far are you willing to be from work? (if far away can you get another job or telecommute?)
> If telecommuting, how big of an office space do you need?
> How far are you willing to be from friends and family?
> Are you willing to change your dentist, church, yoga class, health club, etc. to be closer to your home?
> Is it important to have emergency facilities nearby (hospital, fire station)?
> How much traffic and other detractions (i.e. garbage dump, nuclear power plant) are you willing to put up with?
> Do you need good access to open space, parks and wilderness? (How far are you willing to go?)
> If there is land near the home you’re interested in that’s undeveloped, does it matter to you what is built on that land?
> If you have children or pets are you OK with being in a high-traffic area? What about other safety concerns such as crime?
> Do you know what the government’s plans for the neighbourhood are in the future (i.e. building a highway through it)? Are you OK with those plans?
> Does it matter to you whether businesses and government are investing in the community or are stores being shut down and boarded up?
> Do you know whether people are moving into or out of the neighbourhood? Does that matter to you?
> Do you plan on having kids? (will you need additional space or are any of your children moving out soon?)
> Would you need a home that can accommodate people of all ages?
> Do you like having guests? If so, how many, and how will you accommodate them?
Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters