Wants vs. Needs: Making a Home Buying Checklist
The home buying process is a long, and sometimes difficult one. But there can be a lot of excitement around the prospect of a new home. Whether this is the first home, or the tenth, you are bound to have ideas about what you like and don’t like, and what you need and require, and what you want.
Before you start viewing home, even online, you need to make a list of all of your needs and wants. There are tons of real estate statistics out there to assist you in figuring out what is important. What you come up with is also good information to share with your real estate agent, so that he or she can eliminate much from the list of viewings, and only show you houses you are truly interested in. This list is going to evolve as you move through each house, but you can start off with the basics.
So first thing first—where do you want to live? Maybe you just got a new job in a certain area and only are willing to commute 20 miles at most to work. Maybe you have a work from home job and can live anywhere you want.
What is your budget?
You’ve been pre-approved for a certain amount, but what are you actually comfortable with spending? Unlike what you see on TV shows, your real estate agent won’t show you anything above a price range you give them.
How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
If you have two kids, maybe you need a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. Now what about how many you want? Maybe you want a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home so that one bedroom can be guest quarters or be converted into an office space. Maybe your in-laws are going to living with you and you need a guest house out back.
How much land are you looking for?
You may want a condo with no yard work or landscaping, or maybe you want to start a mini homestead where you’ll need several acres. Maybe you are taking online classes from home and need an office. Do you have a hobby that requires space—scrapbooking, woodworking, car restoration. Maybe you need a garage or workshop.
Do you want to be in a good school district, close to restaurants and shopping, near to the lake or boat club, on a quiet street, or close to family? These are all important questions to ask yourself when creating your list.
It’s important to remember that a house can be changes much easier than it can be moved—you may find your dream home in a terrible location but find a fixer upper in the perfect location. In the long run, it’s easier to make the fixer upper have all your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ than it would be to relocate your dream home.
As for everything else, you have to remember what you consider to be a need versus what you want to have. And maybe even be open to letting go of certain wants in favor of everything that you need.