After you’ve decided to buy a home, what sort of home it will be is your next decision point. It’s a better approach to have a rather concrete vision in mind of what type, features, and amenities you want in your home, rather than a “shotgun look” at every listing that’s out there in your price range.
Imagine your dream house. It fulfills both your needs and desires. It fits the need for a good roof over your head, a sturdy structure, moderns fixtures and appliances, living space (i.e., bedrooms, living room), and functional rooms (i.e., kitchen, bathroom[s]).
Your needs fulfilled, you turn to your desires. A home on the beach or in the woods, a gourmet kitchen, wood-paneled den, crystal chandeliers over a banquet table in the manor-sized dining room, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a hot tub and sauna. In your first home, you must ensure all needs are met; however, there are probably going to be some desires that you’ll have to let go (for now) due to affordability issues.
Decide your needs vs your desires
- Would you like a swimming pool? Enough that a home without one will not be looked at?
- In what areas or neighborhood might the home be located? Where do you want to live? Where might you have to live for work commute or home price reasons?
- What features would make it special?
- What can you afford and what is out of your budget?
Budget usually constrains us most in selecting a home. While somethings are necessary for any home (as mentioned, the good roof, a working furnace), others will just stay on the list of desires for now (the sauna or that home in Beverly Hills).
Make a List; Check it Twice
You may have an impression of what you want in your new home. Putting that to paper and having a complete checklist can prove useful.
Before starting your hunt for a new home, it’s advisable to make a list of all your basic needs and desires, then prioritize the desires, figuring that all needs must be met in any house under consideration. This will make the search easier and help weed out the ones that don’t meet the basics. Realize, however, that it’s nearly impossible to find a home that meets all requirements. Compromises will be necessary.
It’s a good idea to work from outside-the-house factors to inside-the-house. For example, location is perhaps the primary concern and both “needs” factors and “desires” factors might be involved. A “need” would be “must be within 25 miles of work”. A “desire” might be, “would like Westwood” (a favored neighborhood), while a need might be “on the west side of city” (because work, family, friends and recreation activities all located there).
Location needs may include proximity to schools, frequently used recreation facilities, or mode of transportation (bus or suburban rail access). Whether an item is a need or desire depends on circumstance.
(to be continued…)
Excerpted from my book “The Home Buyer’s Guide”.