How do you make sure you buy the right home for you and your family? Between the home itself, the ideal location, and the limitations of your budget, there are a lot of variables to consider.
Homebuying is an emotional experience for most of us. How many times have you heard someone say that they “fell in love” with a house? That can be great, but your decision shouldn't be purely emotional. We have to be careful to not lose track of our goals and what we need in a new property.
Doing your homework on needs vs wants helps you:
Save time, because you won’t bother looking at houses that don’t “fit”
Put your emotions aside to the best of your ability
Get on the same page with a spouse or partner
Make the best decisions when your budget meets reality
Act quickly and confidently when the right home comes along
Plus, your real estate agent will love you for it. It makes her job easier, too! 😉
Need it, want it, don’t care
Let's take a minute to define the terms needs vs wants.
Needs are virtual deal-breakers. Maybe you want a single-family house, not a condo, period. Or vice versa. Maybe a particular neighborhood or commute time are non-negotiables for you. These are the elements that are the primary focus for our search.
Wants are optional, more or less. These are things you want but can live without, or possibly add to your home later. Updated bathrooms or hardwood flooring throughout the home are great, but if an otherwise perfect home has carpet, you’re still going to jump on it.
And then there’s “don’t care.” This is the stuff that’s irrelevant to you. Work at home? Commute time is not a problem. Carless? No concerns about parking.
Ask yourself the right questions
Here are some things to think about as you work through the needs vs wants checklist.
What do you love and hate about where you live now? If the layout of your current place is not conducive to your lifestyle, consider the needs of your new home. In doing so, you can improve the quality of your everyday life.
If you are a first time homebuyer, your first home probably won’t be your last. It is typical of a first time home buyer to stay in their residence for five to eight years before moving on. But maybe your plan is to buy a small starter home and, in five years or so, trade up to something with more room or a larger yard space. Keep your short- and long-term goals in mind.
Remember: Homebuying is about compromises and tradeoffs — and being smart about how you make them. Take some time to make your list and identify your needs and wants. I'm here to answer any questions you have.