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Jim Jamison is the Owner and Brewmaster at Foggy Noggin Brewery. Now he has taken off in a new direction! Listen to Jim talk about his new Children’s book “What would I be if I couldn’t be me!”

Click this link to get information on where you can buy the book and more:

Here is the original interview I had with Jim about Foggy Noggin Brewery


I had the pleasure of getting to know the brewer Jim Jamison of Foggy Noggin Brewing a whole lot better than I had in the past today. I have known Jim and his wife Kim since 1992 when Jim was one of the coaches of my daughter’s soccer team “The Sidekicks.” This was the first year of a team that would stay together from first grade through junior high. It was a great team. Jim’s daughter, Stephanie was also on the team. I knew then that Jim was producing a newsletter on beer, but I thought it was only a hobby.

Today, I got to learn about how Jim’s passion for good beer grew from tasting, to writing about it, and now to making it. He is a beer historian. This love affair started in 1979 at Produce Row Cafe in Portland where he then lived. . Produce Row was the place for beer. Every beer available for import into Oregon was here. Jim tried each and every one of them and became obsessed. The microbrewery or “craft” beer revolution started in the early 1980”s, and Jim enjoyed expanding his beer-horizons. Jim remembers that there were over 1,200 beers from all over the world on the menu, and it took about 4 years to get through them all. He said he wished he still had a copy of the menu. He’d used it to check off each beer as he tried them. Throughout this time Jim began to learn more about beers from different areas in the world and how they were made. He developed a special affinity for English Ale because of the great flavor, better balance, and less-filling nature.

Describe your business

We are brewers of great English Styled Ales on a very small 1/2 BBL system. We are one of the world’s smallest production breweries, referred to as a nano brewery. Most brews are done in 1/2 barrel batches. We take great pride in every batch to bring you consistent high quality brews year-round. Our fresh beers are available at our tasting room, located at our brewery in Bothell, WA, and at several restaurants and pubs that rotate our beers through their lineup. At our tasting room, we have a rotating menu of 12 beers at a time. However, we have brewed over 86 different beers since we opened. Some celebrate special occasions like the birth of our grandchildren. We put out a special brew on each grandchild’s first birthday. So far we have 3.

What made you decide to open this business?

I started with the publication “Northwest Brew News” (NWBN) in 1994. That happened as a result of a visit to the local grocery store. I was in the beer isle and a guy next to me commented that he had no idea which beer to choose , that it was too confusing. I thought, “There needs to be a publication to educate people on local brews.” I started small with about 4 pages, eventually we grew to eight. We included reviews of breweries, pubs, stores, and books on beer. Again, the goal was to educate; we wrote no negative reviews. I ran copies off at Kinko’s, and left a couple of hundred at the two businesses I had reviewed in the first addition (see photo of first addition), and I mailed them to my friends. There was information on the back about how to sign up for the newsletter. We allowed limited advertising, but only from local businesses. It began to grow , and by 1997, we had 15,000 subscribers. In 1992, Kim gave me a beer making kit. That was the beginning, albeit a long way away from Foggy Noggin. I still have that kit, and display it on top of the cold box. (see photo)

What was it like when you first started?

Well, when I first started brewing, I wasn’t very good at it, and I made a lot of bad beer. I decided that if I was going to do this, I had to learn how to make one beer well. So, I practiced, and I studied until I brewed that one beer well. It is still on our menu. “Bit O’Beaver” was my first perfect beer. It’s an English Bitter. I started by giving beer away to family and friends. Many of them asked where they could buy it.
I decided to expand, and was able to purchase a small 1/2 BBL system from a small planned brewery in Marysville that never actually took off. The brewery equipment consists of Grain Mill, Wort Chiller, Hot Liquor Tank, Mash Tun, Brew Kettle, and Fermenter. When I became a bit more serious, I constructed a 200-sq ft. building to house the equipment. It contains all the equipment, supplies, and a big stainless steel sink that I got from Albertsons when they closed. It’s perfect for washing out barrels, small enough to wrap your arms around it. We keep the temperature at 68 degrees F year round. That is the perfect fermentation temperature and we keep classical music playing at all times to allow the beers a pleasant relaxing environment in which to ferment.

As the kids got older they became interested in brewing. I decided to wait until the kids were 21 to actually start the business and formed an LLC in 2008. Foggy Noggin Brewing LLC was issued a Washington State business license and the process began. Each of the kids got an ownership interest in Foggy Noggin. Now we were officially in business,

Can You Give Us An Idea How Things Are Done While Brewing?

So, Once Up And Going, Where Did You Go From There?

Well, as people wanted buy beer, we turned our garage into a brew pub, and are still open every Saturday from 12:00-5:00 p.m. The kids began brewing. Stephanie brews on Friday, Mathew brews on Saturday, and I get Sunday. As we said before, we have brewed over 86 different beers. We have made celebratory beers for the birth of each of our grandchildren on their first birthdays. We made a beer to celebrate the Seahawks going to the Superbowl in 2014 that we still brew. It’s very popular.

This Is A Great Story. Can You Tell Us About It?

We decided to make a beer to celebrate the Seahawks going to the Superbowl. We called it ” 12th Man.” We had only made a 1/2 batch of it, but we let everyone know about it on our social media sites. About a week before Superbowl we received a “cease and desist” letter from Texas A& M lawyers telling us that they had the trademark on that (12th Man) name, and they would sue us if we didn’t stop using it immediately. Of course, we agreed. We renamed the beer “Cease and Desist Skittles IPA.” Yes, there really are Skittles in the beer! CBS Evening News got a hold of the story, and they came out to interview us. As a result on the Saturday before Superbowl before we opened we had 250 people lined up in our driveway waiting to buy the beer! I went outside and explained to everyone that we only had enough of the “Cease and Desist Skittles IPA” for about 50 people, but that we did have some other really good beers. I told them that if the Seahawks won I would brew a full batch that would be ready in 3 weeks. Everyone stayed. We sold out of the “Cease and Desist Skittles IPA” in 10 minutes. The Seahawks won. In 3 weeks, we had another line out front and sold out of the Skittles brew again in 20 minutes! Every year on Saturday before the football season opener there is a line waiting for the Skittles brew!

There Is One Other Special Day During The Year That You Are Open. When Is That?

We are open from 2:00-3:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, after my mother got the Turkey in the oven, we would go bowling. We still do that as a family today. We normally get home at about 1:00. The first year the pub was open I suggested that we open up for just 1 hour after we got home. We put the signs out and about 12 people showed up. We did it the following year;those folks came back, and brought their friends. It has continued to grow. People kind of enjoy it as part of the holiday celebration now. They stand around and chat, and bring their growlers to be filled. It’s now a tradition.

What would your customers say they love most about your business?

Well, first of all the beer,of course. But, they also love our pub. People come every Saturday (Open 12:00-5:00). All of our neighbors have become friends, and they have all met each other here. They bring their friends.

Is There Something That People Might Not Know About Your Business?

We hold events at our pub. You can rent the facility for $200 and the cost of the beer consumed. We have had wedding rehearsal dinners, office parties, book signings, birthday parties, all kind of events here. You can bring your own food, or we can help facilitate with catering. Most are held in the summer because of the weather, but we can accomodate 20 inside the pub.

Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you want customers to know about?

We are always looking for a new second location in Bothell. I would really like to bring in beers from all over the world, in addition to our own brews. There are so many different styles.

What do you love most about the neighborhood?

Bothell still has the “small town” feel to it. There is still a real sense of community here.

Where are your favorite places to go in the neighborhood?

There are so many great places. We love Julio’s Mexican Restaurant. We have gone to Countryside Donuts ever since the kids were little. Yummy donuts! Hanna Sushi has some of the best sushi around, and Carolina Smoke Barbecue is the best! The Bine is a great new Beer and Food spot on Main St.

Why do you think it’s important for people to shop local?

It’s simple. You are reinvesting in your community.

Meet Roy DeLeon, a local Artist who focuses on beauty in the moments in Bothell

Meet Bothell’s own Roy DeLeon. Roy has captured many of Bothell’s local scenes and people of interest. His art captures the beauty of the moment, full of compassion, empathy, and love. It brings a feeling of warmth, caring and connectedness at a time when we all really need it.

Roy DeLeon by Roy DeLeon

Roy has always been an artist. It runs in his family. As a child in the Philippines, his closest neighbors were his relatives. He remembers going to his uncle’s house and watching him draw portraits.

Roy was the oldest of seven children. Only he and his third youngest brother were interested in art. They both became accomplished artists though Roy said his brother was always the superior artist. As kids they would draw pictures of the Beatles and sell them to other children for spending money.

Roy attended the University of Santo Tomas in Manila studying graphic arts. There he met and married the love of his life, Annie.

He and his family landed in the United States in San Francisco in 1972. He and Annie lived in California for the first few years of their marriage near his family. They made the move to Bothell in 1980 to be closer to her brother, and have been here ever since.

He brought his artistic skills with him and went to work for Ch2m Hill Engineering for 30 years as a graphic designer. Now that he has retired, his art is his gift to the world. He no longer takes commissions for work. He said with that comes stress which has already caused health issues he doesn’t want repeated. Instead, he creates art to share joy, love, and glimpses of the divine.

Roy and Annie can be seen walking around Bothell. Almost everyday there is a new perspective of our city as seen by Roy on his social media. He is a very spiritual person and is always looking for the divine everywhere. He finds it and shares it in his art.

Bothell Dog Park by Roy DeLeon

The one thing he wishes he could do is travel farther around Bothell. He doesn’t drive very far anymore, so asks Bothell folks who are out and about to send him photos they might equate with joy, peace, love, community–all wholesome, healing, and life-giving human qualities we so hunger for these days.

Here is a link to our interview where Roy can tell you more about himself and his work:

You can also find Roy’s work on Instagram under Roy DeLeon, or Roy DeLeon on Facebook.

Staging – 10 Steps for Styling Your Home for Sale

How To Stage Your Home To Get Top Dollar For Your Home

Time was many homes up for sale were either vacant or occupied by the owner’s possessions. That still happens, but savvy owners (often advised by savvy Realtors) know that a well-staged home often sells faster and for more than a vacant one.  A recent study from the Appraisal Institute found that vacant houses sold for 6% less than occupied houses and stayed on the market longer. Here’s a point to remember:  Once you put your home on the market, it is no longer your home, but is now a product in a competitive market.

So, what needs to be done? Who’s going to do it? And, who pays for it?

If you list your home for sale with Gratton & Associates, we pay upfront for a professional cleaning of your home, then we hire a professional stager to present your home in the best possible way. Our stager will meet with you and give you a to-do list–the steps recommended to present your home in the best possible light.  Those steps may include:

1) De-personalize. 

Buyers have one thought uppermost as they enter your home–“Can I imagine myself living here?” So, everything from personal photos, religious references, political signage, knick-knacks, and sports equipment should be removed.  Think of it this way: buyers need to see your home, not your stuff.

2) Neutralize. 

Painting walls a neutral color–beige or taupe for living spaces and a neutral green or blue for bathrooms–will freshen up a room and cover marks and scuffs. 

3) Forward Into the Past.  

Return all rooms to their intended purpose.  That bedroom that’s now an office needs to be staged as a bedroom. 

4) Purge.  

Many professional stagers insist that all furniture be removed. Not ours. But, since the general idea is to provide a light, airy, and roomy impression, a good idea is to remove about half of your current furnishings. Clothing, too. 

5) Repair.  

Remember most buyers these days want a move-in ready home minus a to-do list.  Repair squeaky doors, re-caulk a bathroom, fix broken railings, touch up chipped or smudged paint, replace broken fixtures. If it’s been on your to-do list, get it done now.

6) Look Under Your Feet.

Replace worn carpets. If you’ve got hardwood floors that are worn, consider refinishing or at least invest in an inexpensive new area rug for a quick fix that can disguise the look of old floors.

7) Look Up. 

Replacing old or dated light fixtures, door hardware, light switches and outlets can renew a room. If your lampshades are dingy or your fixtures are dated, replace them. Just dusting your bulbs and fixtures can add more light to a room.

8) The Smell Test.  

Many homeowners go nose-blind to odors they encounter everyday in their homes–pet odors, cooking odors. Pay particular attention to them. You might even consider consulting a neutral nose by having a friend come by for a smell test.

9) The Curb Appeal. 

Curb appeal is Realtor shorthand for how your home looks on the outside at first glance. While we generally consider staging a house to be about the interior, the exterior is the first thing potential buyers see. So, outside, basic lawn care is a must, but staging should also include a welcome mat, newly planted flowers, perhaps a potted plant next to the mat. And make sure the house number is clean and easy to read. 

10) Extras. 

Add some finishing touches inside. Fresh flowers in vases, a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.  Keep your nice extras in a closet so they’re ready to go quickly when your agent calls to say a buyer is on the way.

#Bothell,WA, #BothellRealEstate, #YourRealEstateEdge, #CanyonParkBothell, #BothellRealtor, #NeighborhoodHomeValues, #What’sMyHomeWorth, #CurbAppeal, #LandscapeImprovements, #MasterGardener, #Sub

Meet Jim Gratton of the Gratton Edge Group. The Best Realtors in Bothell!

Jim Gratton, son of a Realtor, married to a Realtor, is now a Realtor. Joining Judy to form Gratton & Associates, Jim brings years of sales experience to enhance the partnership with Judy, named 2018 Best Real Estate Agent/Broker in the “Best of Northshore 2018” issue of the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter.

Why did you become a real estate professional?

Genetic destiny, probably. My dad was a longtime Realtor, at one time Chairman of the Idaho Real Estate Commission. But, really, what motivated me to make this career change had more to do with transitioning from selling a consumable commodity, albeit a pleasurable one, to selling something that lasts, that really affects people’s lives long term.

What did you do before you transitioned into real estate?

I had a long career in the wine business, mostly in Seattle. For the last decade and a half, I was on what we call the “supplier” side of the business, working as the NW regional sales manager for a couple of different New York-based importers, Australia’s largest wine company, and even a couple of Woodinville-based Washington wineries. Before that, I was a sales rep and manager for Seattle wine distributors. I have obviously put my B.A. in Journalism to good use.

Who are some of your business idols and role models? And why?

Well, for real estate, for business idol, I’d have to say my father. For role model, it would be my wife Judy. She’s been a Realtor for over 20 years in this area. I’ve had the chance to watch her help her clients in both smooth and difficult transactions; I’ve seen how detail-oriented she is, and how she really listens to her clients, many times finding them their dream homes.

My dad developed vacation areas in Idaho, subdivisions, business properties, and really knew the ins and outs of real estate. My favorite real estate story about him, though, occurred when my mother was pregnant with me. He was showing a client homes around town when for some reason, he needed to stop at his own. The client told him that their house was exactly what he wanted to buy. So, Dad sold it to him right then and there. Might have been a better idea to inform my mother first.

What do you do for fun?

Playing music. I’ve played guitar since I was 13 and made my living at it for a year or so before we got married. Mostly acoustic guitar playing in dinner clubs in Idaho. There’s a YouTube video from a few years ago where I performed in Boise at a reunion of musicians who had played the Sandpiper Restaurants in southern Idaho back in the 1970’s, 80’s, & 90’s. Sounds not all that good in the video, which is too bad, ’cause at the club it was spot on. It’s a song I wrote for our son.

Now, I’ve been playing weekly with a group of guys in Seattle for many years. We’re more rock with electric instruments. Loads of fun.

What are your favorite things to do in the neighborhood?

Catching a movie at McMenamin’s. Love getting food and drink served to you at your seat. I’ve also enjoyed, more than I thought I would, a number of the shows at the Northshore Performing Arts Center. Let’s see, also Bothell High football games at Pop Keeney Stadium. The farmers’ markets during the summer. The 4th of July parade in downtown. The Christmas tree lighting. Walking the Burke-Gilman trail by the Sammamish Slough.

What are your favorite restaurants in the neighborhood?

That’s a hard one. Along with all the new apartments and condos, we’ve seen an explosion of new restaurants in Bothell. I haven’t even gotten to some like Prime and the Cottage that opened in the latter part of last year. But that said, I like Amaro Bistro, especially for late-night dining in their bar. We tried Stack 571 a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed the burgers and service. For Mexican cuisine, within about 4 square blocks, there are 3 we like–Pasion Tequila, Poquitos, and Julio’s. Lots to like, too, about the McMenamin’s restaurants. And, outside of the downtown Bothell core, we’ve enjoyed dining at Russell’s in the Monte Villa business park, Grazie in Canyon Park, and up in Mill Creek Tablas Woodstone Taverna and Calabria Ristorante Italiano.


.#bothell, #bothellliving, #whattodoinbothell, #yourrealestateedge, #pnw

Interview with Judy Gratton, your local Realtor® for Bothell


What do you do for fun?

I love the beach, long walks, flying kites, gardening, riding bikes, and adventure!

What are your favorite things to do in the neighborhood?

I love to walk in Bothell. There’s so much to see, and so many friendly people. The Burke Gilman Trail is the best. I also love the 4th of July Parade. It’s so small town America.

What are your favorite restaurants in the neighborhood?

There are many! I love Alexa’s downtown on Main St. Pasion Tequila is the best Mexican in town! Amaro is great for any meal, but I love sitting outside for Sunday brunch. Social Grounds has great coffee, tea, and salads. Of course there are any of the McMenamins restaurants in the Anderson School house.  Then for burgers and fries, hands down the Ranch Drive In.  It’s a Bothell icon!

What makes you stand out from other realtors?

I really care about my clients, and I go out of my way to prove it. I work hard to keep them informed of every step of every transaction.

Why did you become a real estate agent?

I became a Realtor because I have always loved working with people, solving problems, and of course looking at houses. There is never a dull day in real estate.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had with a client?

Gosh, I’ve had a few! There were the clients that were moving because their family had outgrown their home. The day we closed on their new home they found out they were expecting #3. There was the woman who was buying her first home. It was a short sale. It took us a year to finally close it , and we closed it 15 minutes before it was going on the auction block! That was exciting! I have helped families after the loss of their parents, People either being transferred out or into the area, People getting married, and others parting ways. It’s really all about the people.

What’s your favorite piece of technology?

My smart phone. I would be lost without it. I can do almost anything with it!

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have worn many hats over the years.  I started my career as a model and worked in Japan, Los Angelus, and Las Vegas.  I then worked as a flight attendant for several years, and then I opened and ran a talent agency where I represented over 200 men, women, and children for print, film, and televison work in the Puget Sound region. Then I changed directions and went into real estate.  I can say that it has been the most exciting, and fulfilling of all my career choices.






#ilovebothell, #bothell, #bothellcommunity, #bothellhomes, #bothellrealestate, #bestofbothell

An Open House Day


Many people know Realtors by Open Houses.  It isn’t all that we do, but it is one of the things we do.

What people don’t know is how much goes into an open house.  First, you need flyers made about the property which require photographs, which should be taken by a professional to get the quality you need to properly show off the property.  Of course to get great photos the home needs to be in pristine condition and staged.  Staging is dressing up a vacant or nearly vacant home with a few furnishings to give it a somewhat lived-in look while not being so cluttered as to prevent those touring the home from imagining their own furnishings in it.  Some agents stage themselves, some hire a professional stager.

A good agent will turn the open house into an event with snacks, water or beverages, and as much information about the area, comparable homes, schools, etc. as possible.

All of this is done before Open House day.

On open house day the agent needs to figure out how many A-Board signs are needed to direct buyers to the home and where to place them for best advantage. Before that, the agent will have checked what the local zoning laws are around signage.  The agent will then gather them up along with all of the snacks, beverages, balloons, and miscellaneous  tools needed including a staple gun, screw driver, etc. Then, it’s time to head out to the open house.

Placing the signs is always a challenge.  You can’t always just stop where you are going to place them.  You have to be aware of traffic and not get in the way.  Those signs are about 5 lbs each and very unruly.  Getting them set up is one of my least favorite jobs.  You also have to make sure that they aren’t blocking pedestrians or bicycles.

Next, you head to the house.  Carry in all of your paraphernalia and stop to get the key from the key box.  That takes a minute and is sometimes an exercise in juggling.

Once in the house you have to turn on all the lights, open all the curtains, make sure there is enough toilet paper, blow up air mattresses if they are low (the “staged” beds are rarely real), set out the snacks, hide your belongings, and wait.

Hopefully, because you have done some targeted advertising through mailings and social media, you will generate a lot of traffic.  You have to be friendly, but not pushy, offer information, and answer questions.  Very rarely does anyone want to buy the home on the spot.  The best most of us hope for is to develop a relationship with someone who would continue to work with us after the open house.

An open house can vary in how long it is open, and what day it is open.  Once it is finished, you have to turn off all the lights.  Make sure all windows, and doors are closed and locked, that no one is left inside, haul everything back out, drive around and pick up all your signs (providing no one has stolen one to be used later for their garage sale) drive home, unload and collapse.

It’s a lot of work for only potential gain.  So next time you visit an open house be kind to that Realtor.  They really are working hard.

Don’t miss this beautiful Mukilteo home.


12175 Clubhouse Lane, Mukilteo  on the 14th hole of the Harbor Point Golf Course

 Beautiful Harbour Pointe Custom Lozier 2-Story home on 14th Fairway.Master Suite on main,sumptuous 5-piece bath, heated floors, granite & huge custom walk-in closet. 3 beds, 2.5 baths, open great room plan, gourmet kitchen w/ upgraded SS appl, quartz counter tops & back splash. Gorgeous entry, hardwoods, plantation shutters & warm designer colors. Entertainment deck, sprinklers & lighting. Newer furnace & central air. Close to everything! Excellent neighborhood & schools. 1-year home warranty.

                                                              Offered at $699950.00

  • Open Friday, March 24th 5-7pm
  • Saturday,       March 25th 1-4pm
  • Sunday,          March 26th 1-4pm

North SR 525 from 1-5. Turn left on Harbour Pt. Blvd & follow to ClubhouseLane, tun left, follow Clubhouse Ln through stop sign, Home will be on your right


5 Ways to Make a Personal Statement at Home

White flat interior with simple storage unit, desk, computer, chair, armchair, commode and decorative houseplants
White flat interior with simple storage unit, desk, computer, chair, armchair, commode and decorative houseplants

There’s so much advice out there about neutralizing your home design for maximum resale value that our personalities are in danger of getting lost in the shuffle. Unless you’re getting ready to put your home on the market soon, go ahead and let your individuality shine through with interior design that reflects your tastes and interests. Here are five easy ways to do so:

1. Make it a grand entrance. Maybe it’s an unusual door knocker or a doorbell that plays Beethoven’s 5th—or a whimsical piece of statuary or planter filled with something unexpected, like a well-stacked group of beach rocks. Try hanging a small sign with a favorite saying that welcomes guests. Whatever you choose, small touches like these make a personal statement before anyone even gets inside.

2. Put furniture in the ‘wrong’ room. Remember when Joey and Chandler opted for a foosball table over a kitchen table? Maybe something similar will work for you. Perhaps there’s a spot in your kitchen for a chaise lounge? Add a loveseat to a bedroom instead of the requisite side chair, or an antique, full-length mirror in your living room. When done tastefully, furniture in unexpected places can work wonders by making a very memorable impression.

3. Make your walls a self-expression. Don’t play it safe when it comes to wall décor. Go beyond the usual framed prints and accent mirrors and do something that reflects your personality. Music lover? Frame and hang beloved album covers or concert posters. Traveler? Turn a wall into a collection of photographs and framed objects that reflect your favorite destinations. Poet? Use stencils to inscribe your favorite quote right on the wall. Artist? Go a step further and add a mural.

4. Put your passions on display. Whether it’s comic books or collectible snowmen, weave your collection into your interior design with creative and tasteful shelving or a display unit. The key here is to choose one area—don’t let your collection take over your entire home.

5. Show off your green thumb indoors. If you’re a plant lover, don’t refine your passion to the garden. Incorporate more indoor plants and flowers within your home and keep your hobby going year-round. Select a sunny spot and start cultivating an orchid or African violet collection. Or choose strategic locations for hanging plants, using attractive planters made from copper, ceramic or other finishes of your preference.

Remember, one of the many benefits of owning versus renting is that there are no restrictions when it comes to design. So make a personal statement and make your home your own.

Learn more about making a personal statement through home décor by contacting me today.   206-276-3289

5 Factors for Newlyweds When Buying Your New Home.

Newlyweds: Here Are 5 Factors to Consider when Buying Your New Home

By Kyla Stellingyoung-couple-new-house-776100-gallery
Now that the wedding is over, you and your spouse are ready for the next exciting milestone: homeownership. There are so many factors you need to keep in mind and you want it to be a pleasant house-hunting experience. The following are just a few things you should take into account when you’re in the market for a new home.

Marriage is a big transition and it may come with some adjustments to your lifestyle. Have a talk with your spouse and discuss your long-term goals, such as whether you want to start a family or move to a different location for job possibilities. You also should take into account the safety of the neighborhood, the school district in which you live and the amount of families that reside in the area. If you’re thinking about having kids in the near future, having great public schools nearby is important.

Required Space
Discuss what your expectations are for square footage and the general space you want within your home. Keep in mind the space you need for day-to-day activities, family gatherings and your future children. Create a list that helps you prioritize what kind of space is important to you as individuals and as a couple. For example, if you host a lot of parties, you may want to prioritize a large kitchen and living room. If one of you works from home or needs office space, put that on the top of your list.

Keep in mind that compromise is often necessary. Identify which spatial features are and aren’t deal-breakers. House Simple compares some of the things you may want to compromise on, such as the amount of space versus the location, and the fixable faults, like ugly hardware or kitchen countertops.

Bed and Bath Layout
The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home is another important factor you should discuss. Talk about whether or not you want your home to be able to lodge many bodies or if you would prefer to not have visitors. Just make sure you don’t go over your budget, because the number of rooms and bathrooms has a major influence on the asking price of the house. Decide if you really need that extra guest bedroom if it means sacrificing a large kitchen or the perfect location.

If you intend to add on an extra bedroom or bathroom in the future, check the county’s code and permit requirements and the potential cost of the addition. HomeAdvisor puts the cost of a total bathroom remodel at an average of $9,348. If this is less than what it would cost to buy a house with an extra bathroom, then it may be worth it to wait and build a bathroom that is to your exact specifications.

Hidden Expenses
When you determine your budget for your home, make sure you include any ongoing expenses the home has. Utilities are a major cost that vary based on the sustainability and efficiency of your house. Consider the cost it may take to upgrade your heating and cooling system, major appliances, and windows and doors. It may cost more upfront but save you a lot of money in the future, so it’s important to figure out what you can afford in the short and long term. You also should be aware of costs like homeowners association dues, structural update costs, property taxes, insurance and any other regional fees.

Home Security
Look for a home that you can keep safe and sound with solid security features. Search for houses that have trees and tall shrubbery around the lot’s perimeter so they can block the street view of your home. This natural barrier is pleasant to look at and helps prevent burglars from scoping out or monitoring your home.

You also should protect your new valuable asset with a security camera system. Take note of houses you are looking at that have existing CAT5e or BNC security camera cabling. This can save you time and money on security camera installation. Even if your dream house doesn’t have these wires already doesn’t mean that you can’t have this safety feature, though. Installing a full security camera system is not as complex as it once was and doesn’t necessarily require professional installation. Once you know what you’re looking for, you should choose a security camera system that has the security features you need to feel safe and protected night and day, such as HD resolution, long-range night vision, audio capabilities, or ultra-wide angle lenses.

Shopping for your first home as a newlywed couple should be a fun and memorable experience. Be sure to discuss your needs ahead of time, stick to your budget and enjoy the process.