If you plan on living in your next home for a long time, you need to buy with an eye to the future. In today’s real estate market, people are moving house less frequently, which means you need to think ahead. When you're looking to buy a new home, you might be drawn to features that appeal to your current lifestyle, but will they be practical in five years? What should you be thinking about?Nowadays, buying a home is a long term investment you're likely to live in for many years. If you’re on the hunt for a home, have a think about the kind of plans you have for the future. Do you have children? If not, do you plan to have them? If you plan to have children, this will have a big impact on the type of home you buy, the layout of the home you buy and the amount of space you require. If you do already have children, their age and whether you plan on expanding your family are factors to consider. It's also imperative you consider location. If you think it’s unlikely you’ll be moving again in the next five to 10 years, then where you buy is one of the most important decisions you'll make.Read more about why location is so important.Which features have the most impact?The layout and features within your home are imperative to your future happiness and comfort.Things to ask yourself are:Do you want an open-plan central living area or would you prefer the areas separated?How do these indoor spaces connect to your outdoor area?What kind of outdoor area do you require? Do you need lots of space for the kids to play? Do you want room to add in a pool? Is there space to entertain? Do you want your kitchen to flow into your outdoor zone?You also need to consider the number of bedrooms you have and their placement. If you plan on expanding your family, you might want to buy a home with enough bedrooms to accommodate this.If you have very young children, the minor bedrooms being close to the master bedroom might be a requirement. Whereas if you had older kids, separation between the master and minor bedrooms is likely to appeal to your family. If you regularly have guests stay, it's also worth thinking about how a guest bedroom would and could factor into your plans. The number of bathrooms you require and how they connect and service the bedrooms should also be considered. Don't buy outside your meansAs important as it is to consider your long term plans when buying a home, it's also equally important that you don't purchase a home significantly outside of your budget to satisfy potential future requirements.Buy within your means so you can live comfortably, but keep an eye to the future. You may not be able to achieve all of your potential future requirements, but you can likely achieve enough so that your home grows with you.Speak to a REIWA agent about the kinds of home that would be most suitable for your long-term aspirations.