Do Your Wants Match Your Needs?

A good first step to buying a new home is to prioritize the amenities you really need the most. Be prepared to compromise a bit. Dreams of marble counter tops, gleaming hardwood floors and a pool in the backyard are great, but be careful to prioritize your real NEEDS over the WANTS. Separating the two may be difficult. Your basic needs include a roof and walls, heat and, possibly, air conditioning depending on the local climate. But you might tell your real estate agent that you want a four-bedroom, two-story with a beautiful fireplace and a fenced yard on a cul-de-sac. Before you get completely carried away, try to define what you need the most in your next home.

Make a List

Make two columns, one for wants and one for needs. Needs should include items such as price range, school requirements, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of the garage, and how much fixer-upper repair you are willing to do yourself. Wants could include more nonessentials, like a recently remodeled kitchen or bathrooms, hot tub, home style, new windows, a large deck or professional landscaping.

How Large or Small?

How much space do you need? Will your family be growing? Do you want to downsize? Do you need a lot of storage space? Do you want a three-car garage? Think about the amount of square feet you want, but keep the number flexible as you begin your home search. Consider how you want your family to fit in your new home.

Future Plans

How long do you intend to live in the new home? If it is only for a short term, its location, value and neighborhood will be important for the future resale. If you think you will live there longer than five years, you will have more time for remodeling or expansion. Will you need a large lot for a new addition?

Once you have completed your list, prioritize everything with the needs at the top followed by the wants. Share it with your agent so he/she can help you find properties available in your price range that best fill your desires. It’s good to have this work done before you actually start looking to make sure you buy the right house for your family’s needs.