Whether we are talking about buying your first home or your tenth home, the process of finding the one that is perfect for you and your family can be overwhelming under even the best conditions. One of the easiest ways to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible is to first have a good idea of exactly what that perfect home is going to look like.
Writing down your lists of must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” will help you identify exactly what that dream home is going to look like for you, which will then guide you towards looking at houses that are likely to fit those qualifications. But where do you even start when coming up with those lists? And how do you decide which items go on which lists?
Look at Lots of Houses
The first step in identifying your must-have features is to spend a lot of time looking at all kinds of difference houses, both online and in person. There is no substitute for actually walking through houses in the community you are considering so that you can really get a feel for what is possible and what might be too much of a reach.
Break Down the Budget
Once you start to get a feel for what is available at different price points in the communities you are considering, the next step is to factor in how much you are planning to spend on a home. If you are planning to be at the top of the price range in the community, then high-end bonus features could certainly make your must-have list, but if you are looking on the less expensive side of the market, those must-haves might make more sense on your nice-to-have list.
Consider the “Upgradeability”
Another thing that is important to consider is how difficult it would be to add one of your must-have items to a house after your purchase it. For example, you might have granite countertops on your must-have list, but this is something that could be added relatively easily down the road if you happen to find the perfect house where the only thing missing is those countertops.
Factor in the Upkeep
You should also make a point to consider the upkeep that is going to be associated with the features that make your must-have list. Pools, hot tubs, and extra bathrooms are all great features to have, but keep in mind that each of them are going to require additional effort on your part to keep them up and running and looking great.
Be Honest With Yourself
It is also important to be completely honest with yourself and recognize that if your must-have list is too complicated for your budget, you might not ever find what you are looking for. In these situations, you should consider letting go of some of your must-have items and moving them over to your nice-to-have list.
Work With an Experienced Agent
Of course, the best way to know just how likely you are to find all of your must-haves and nice-to-haves in a house that fits your budget is to get the advice of an experienced agent in your market. If you have not yet done so, consult with a local agent and get their take on how possible it will be to find your dream home in a suitable time frame.
Ironing out your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves really comes down to being honest with yourself about what you want out of a home compared to what you can afford and what is available in your community. As long as you are reasonable about your expectations, an experienced agent should be able to help you find the perfect home that contains all of your must-haves.