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Identifying Your Needs vs. Wants

You already know that determining how much you can afford is one of the first steps to buying a home, but equally essential is creating a list of your needs vs. your wants. Most people get these two confused. A need is something you can’t do without and are unwilling to compromise. (“We need three bedrooms.”) A want is an optional feature that would be nice to have but isn’t a deal breaker. (“We want to have a pool.”) Understanding and clearly defining what you are looking for in a home will help your REALTOR clear away the noise and save you time from looking at homes that won’t work.

Start with the basics

Bedrooms, bathrooms, home size, and location are usually great places to start. If you know you want a short commute or access to particular schools, you can narrow your search radius. From there, determine what you need to live comfortably. Do you need space for everyone to spread out, or dedicated office space to work from home? If you have dogs, you may need a house with a yard but want one that is fenced. More than anything, these basic parameters will narrow your search results considerably to help you find the best home.

Refine the details

Once you’ve applied the broad strokes, it’s time to fill in the details. Formal living spaces, the home’s location within a community (i.e., waterfront, cul-de-sac, close to amenities), finishes like flooring and appliances, and exterior features will likely fall in the wants category but will help to refine your search criteria further. If you find a home you love, but it doesn’t have a pool, is the yard large enough to have one built, or would you have access to a community pool? These are the questions to ask yourself when looking at homes.

Be careful when creating your list of needs vs. wants for your next home. If too many items fall into the need column, you can severely restrict the number of homes available to you. Keep an open mind- some of the features you want may be easily added once you purchase the home. You may have a hard time adding another bedroom, but changing the color of kitchen cabinets is an easy and inexpensive update.

Remember that every home is unique, and you may have to make compromises. Your REALTOR will help you define your needs and find the most suitable home. Call us to share your needs and wants, and we’ll guide you through the process to find you a perfect home.
 

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