Sit down to make a list of everything the “perfect” home includes and you may find it goes on for pages. From a backyard oasis with a patio and swimming pool, to a gourmet kitchen with the most up-to-date appliances, plenty of space to entertain friends and a gorgeous master bedroom suite, the list of sought-after features can be endless.
In reality, it is not always possible to find a home with everything. That’s why I suggest deciding in advance which items are “must-haves” and which are “nice-to-haves.” Here are a few ways to help you decipher “needs” from “wants.”
• Know your budget:
The first step to creating a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” is to be realistic about what is affordable and determine a budget. Your budget may cover all your needs but only some of your wants, so a compromise is needed. I’d be happy to help you understand the local market and find comparable home prices to determine what is affordable in your budget.
• Find that perfect “location, location, location”:
It’s possible to make changes to a house, but its physical location will always remain the same. Determine in advance how close you would like to live to work, schools or extended family. A short commute, proximity to family or access to highways and mass transit are often “must-haves.” The location may also help determine which home amenities are possible to have within your budget.
• Determine non-negotiable accommodations:
A comfortable place for everyone in the family is always a “must have.” For a family of four, three bedrooms may be non-negotiable. A “nice-to-have” item might be a spare guest room for visiting friends and family. After determining the budget and neighborhood, the most important factor is that everyone living in the home has a comfortable place to stay.
• Pick a lifestyle fit:
After fulfilling the most important needs, find out what features of a home will best fit your lifestyle. For example, if you love to cook and entertain, you may want a home with a gourmet kitchen and decide to give up the large master bedroom. Or, if you enjoy spending time outdoors, you may compromise a large family room for a big backyard and a barbecue pit.
• Have a vision:
A home is missing that “must-have” hardwood flooring? That’s something that can be fixed after moving in. Avoid getting distracted by things that can be easily changed like decorations, paint or flooring. If everything else about a home fits your wish list, it may be worth putting the finishing touches on a dream home yourself.
While searching for that “perfect” home may be fun, it can also be frustrating trying to check all the boxes. That’s why it’s important to decide which items are non-negotiable, and which aren’t. Not only will this help in visualizing a home that is perfect for you, but it could save a lot of time and energy in the future. Having a realistic idea of your dream home is the first step in finding it.