Once you have been pre-approved to find out what you can afford in a new home you have built the foundation for the next step - determining what you need to have and what would be nice to have in a home.
If you've been house hunting before someone has probably asked you, "What do you want in a home?". Pretty simple right? Probably a better question to ask is, "What do you really need in a home?". Needs are true essentials, requirements, and demands that leave very little room for compromise.
Here are some things to think about when determining your needs and wants:
Make a list of must-haves and nice to-haves. I'm not talking about a mental list. Actually write down your needs and wants. A need would be something that is so important that it would be a deal breaker if the house or neighborhood didn't oblige. I've actually created a check list to help you out with this. See the link below.
Sometimes I refrain from telling people that I will find them the perfect home because after 13 years of selling homes I've found out that in most cases, perfect doesn't exist. Chances are you will find many things that you want and probably all of the things that you need. So, just be flexible because you may have to compromise on a few wants.
For most of us, price usually dictates how many of the things that we want vs what we're actually able to get. So, for instance, let's say you have to have 4 bedrooms with at least 2,500 square feet and your budget is $250,000. However, none of the 4 bedroom homes in the neighborhoods that you love are in your budget. Just remember, there will always be compromises when buying a home and price always plays a big part.
For your list of needs, try to focus on things that you can't change, like schools, square footage, and the neighborhood. Having dark green walls in the house when you want off-white shouldn't be a need. I can't tell you how many times buyers have turned down a great house over something they could easily change in the near future.
Buying a home can be a daunting task on its own and searching for a home can be a frustrating experience if you don't separate those things that you truly need from the features that you can actually live without. By doing this, you'll free your mind from anxiety and it will be a huge bonus to find out that you're able to get some of those wants anyway.
Prepare yourself in the beginning that you may not get everything that you want but you'll probably get most of the things that you need.
Having a defined list can save you a lot of time. Let's say that I have sent you 25 homes from the initial search criteria that you've given me. However, a deal killer for you is that you hate front loading garages. I go back to the list and find only 3 homes that have side loading garages. See my point? There's no need to go look at the 22 other homes when you hate front loading garages.
Check out the link below. I've created a great tool that you can print off and use to help organize your needs and wants for your next home.