When I bought my first home my priorities included a big backyard and the home had to be single-story. Yes, I was young, and obviously not too bright. I ended up with the backyard of my dreams in a single-story home that otherwise didn’t fit my lifestyle or tastes.
What’s your hot button?
Yes, it seems to be a simple question, but it turns out that the answer is complex.
Impulse buying is real. Retailers know this and take advantage of our tendency by using in-store cues to direct us to impulse buys. From magazines to peruse (and hopefully throw into your cart) as you wait in line to that snazzy lemon squeezer right next to the lemons in the produce department, impulse buys are everywhere.
The same holds true when shopping for a home. In the hands of a savvy real estate agent, a home for sale is presented in the best light possible. Trendy paint colors, strategic lighting and the presentation of a certain lifestyle are sure to appeal to many buyers. If the home appears to be in move-in condition, it’s even more appealing.
Avoid these strategic distractions by being absolutely clear on what you want and need in a home. This requires making a list.
But, this isn’t necessarily a shopping list, which is actually a list of needs. Think of it as more of a menu – a list of both wants and needs, with the latter prioritized.
Create your menu
This list should contain those features of a home and a neighborhood that are most important to you and your lifestyle.
Let’s start with the location. To do that, you’ll need to understand what type of structure you want to buy You typically won’t find mobile homes in the downtown area or condos in suburban neighborhoods. So, make this decision first:
- Single-family house
- Mobile home
Now you’ll need to construct that menu. Remember, your needs take priority, but there’s also room on the menu for “desert,” those things that would be nice to have, if possible. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Should the home be one story or are multiple floors ok?
- Square footage needed
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms required
- Work from home? Put a home office on the menu
- Preferred yard size
- Do you need a garage? One, two or three-car?
- Additional amenities, such as a pool (on site or nearby?)
- Commute time
- Proximity to public transportation, schools, parks, etc.
Now, edit the list, placing priorities at the top. These are items that you absolutely cannot do without. For instance, earlier I mentioned that my priority was a big backyard. I got it, but I also got a lousy floor plan because I hadn’t taken the time to figure out its importance to me.
What’s important to other members of the family? You’ll all need to agree on which of their dream list items they’ll be willing to compromise on if the need arises. And, it most likely will.
What are you looking for in a home? Take the time to figure it out, in detail, stick to the list, and you won’t regret purchasing your new home.