NEEDS VS WANTS
Ask A Question
Similar to how you make a list before heading out the door to go grocery shopping, you should not start looking at houses until you have determined what you are specifically looking for. Focus your search by creating a list of features that your home must have as well as features that, though great to have, are not deal breakers.
Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- How much can I afford to spend on a new home?
- How much renovating am I willing to do and what will it cost to do the needed upgrades?
- Where do I want to live? (Community, general area)
- Do I need schools nearby?
- How far am I willing to commute to work?
- Which amenities should be close by? (Grocery store, park, walk-in clinic)
- Do I want a brand new house or an older one?
- What style of house do I want? (Bungalow, split-level, two storey, duplex, townhouse, condominium)
- How many square feet do I require to live comfortably?
- What sort of lot do I like? (Small yard, large yard, fenced in, corner)
- How many bedrooms do I need? How many would I like to have?
- How many bathrooms do I need? How many would I like to have?
- What features are important in my new house? (Air conditioning, carpeting, hardwood floors, family room, basement, separate laundry room)
- Enough space and square footage for enjoyable living
- Enough bedrooms
- Enough bathrooms
- A good size kitchen
- A backyard with enough space for kids and pets to run and play
- A solid, well-built structure
- Affordable for heating, electricity, maintenance, etc.
- Within a walking distance of schools
- Certain flooring and paint colors
- A specific exterior color and finish (Stucco, siding)
- Particular cabinetry
- A pool and/or hot tub
- Modern lighting
- Extensive landscaping
You need to look beyond the cozy shutters. Look at the window frames, are they solid? You may fall in love with a home's color scheme but remember to check the foundation and roof as they are more costly to repair than a coat of paint. Brass lighting may be appealing but it is a fairly inexpensive change. Focus on the wiring, the electrical box, the plumbing; look at the big tickets items that could be costly and time consuming to redo. A kitchen may be dated but if it has the space and natural light you need keep in mind that painting cupboards and walls can be all the face lift it needs.
Take the time to sit down and really determine what your deal breakers are and what you are willing to overlook.