How To Know When You've Found Your Forever Home

“Forever” isn’t as intimidating as you think.

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We're all in search of that elusive forever home—the place we know we can depend on for many years to come, that checks off most of (or even all of) our boxes. But when there's so many homes out there, how do you know which one is "the one"? Simply put, "Finding a forever home is akin to planting a tree and watching it grow," says Lauren Wodicka of LBW Studio in Leesburg, Virginia. But if you need a little more detail, where are the seven signs you've found your forever home.

The Location Is Convenient

We've all heard it before: location, location, location. The biggest consideration when house hunting is often school districts, especially now that more people than ever are working from home. "A lot can be done with design and cosmetic changes to improve your home, but you must love your location," explains Wodicka.

It Has Good Bones

Unless you have an unlimited budget, you should always strive for a house that has good bones—which means something different to everyone. "Start with a list of wants and needs to evaluate each potential purchase. After touring each property, take some notes about the elements of the home that fall into those categories," Kristin Bartone of Bartone Interiors in Chapel Hill, North Carolina advises. Ideally, your forever home only needs cosmetic upgrades or improvements within the main structure or existing property. "Take special consideration to improvements on the interior that require moving walls, specifically structural walls, as well as plumbing lines," she continues. These updates may seem easy, but if you plan on making structural changes, consult an architect or engineer before making an offer.

It Just Feels Right

"A house needs personality and soul to become a home," shares Betsy Berry of B. Berry Interiors in Charleston, South Carolina. "I've encountered so many houses that were absolute perfection, yet had no soul." Personality and soul are much harder to manufacture than drapes and pillows. "The warmth of a home is felt through the layers created by love and time," she continues. It's not about the size or design—it's simply about the feeling.

You See What Could Be

According to Mary Lambrakos of Lambrakos Studio in Houston, Texas, you should be able to imagine yourself in the home and all the possibilities it has. "You don't see upgrades, you see the potential for you to define the home as yours to make your mark," she says. Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens & Baths in Great Falls, Virginia adds, "Renovations, add ons, and upgrades should feel like less of an expense and more of an investment." If it's your forever home, any updates are going to be worth it for your quality of life.

You Choose It

No matter what the signs say, ultimately whether or not you're in your forever home is a decision only you can make. "It's less of a plan and more of a feeling—a feeling that leads to future plans," explains Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens & Baths in Great Falls, Virginia. "There are so many reasons people end up where they are, but staying is a choice."

It Makes Life Easier

Being at home should be a retreat—a place that's both functional and makes you feel good. Anastasia Casey of The Identité Collective, IDCO Studio, and Design Camp in Austin, Texas recommends picturing your life in the home while you're touring it. "Do a gut check to ensure the home feels authentic to how you already live your life, with room for new routines and aspirations," she recommends. "That elusive feeling of home is so deeply personal, but a forever home should have tangible characteristics that make daily life more intentional, natural, and meaningful."

You Just Can't Move Anymore

It's said that moving is the #1 most stressful life event. Even for those who love a project, eventually the pros stop outweighing the cons. "When I weigh the cost and emotional toll of moving against the cost and emotional toll of renovating or improving our current home, I get so overwhelmed and exhausted that I literally can't move," quips Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors in Louisville, Kentucky.

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