Everyone is different. We have different tastes, hobbies, families, careers, and lifestyles. This means that the wishlist for your next home will be different from someone else’s. There is simply no wishlist template that could be applied to all people in all situations.
To create the perfect wishlist for your next home, you need to consider a variety of factors, including the general area, the property, and the interior of the home. Purchasing the right home takes time, but by perfecting your wishlist, you’ll be able to focus your time and energy only on homes that will fit your needs and make you happy.
What Do Like, Dislike About Your Current Home?
The first step for creating your wishlist is to look at your current living situation. Whether you rent or own your home, what do you like and dislike about the place? Does it have enough space, too much space, or is it just right? Do you like the layout and organization? Do you have enough parking? What about the home makes you happy? What causes frustration?
Looking at your current home can help guide your decisions when you start to analyze future properties. For example, if you realized that having one bathroom is a cause of constant family fights, you may want to add two (or more) bathrooms to your wishlist.
Many people struggle to determine exactly how much square footage they need, but your current home can provide a perspective. Find out how much square footage you have (you can consult your landlord or look at title information), then think about whether you feel crammed in the home or whether it feels just right. Many people don’t really have a perspective on square footage (Is 2,500 square feet a lot or a little?), but knowing your current home’s measurements will help you shop.
Clearly Designate the Difference Between Required and Desired
When making your wishlist , it’s important to separate between required and desired aspects of a home.
These are the features and amenities that are required for you to even consider purchasing. In general, these will be aspects of the home that are impossible, extremely difficult, or wildly expensive to change. The amount of bathrooms, like we discussed earlier, is something that can’t be changed without significant remodeling and refurbishing, as are the amount of bedrooms and available parking space. Things that are virtually (or literally) impossible to change include the school district, outdoor space, and proximity to parks, restaurants, and entertainment.
If you add something to your “required” list, you won’t even consider a home unless it has these aspects. For this reason, it’s important that you keep this section of your home-buying wishlist short and sweet; if it goes too long, you eliminate so many houses from your search (and possibly your budget) that you’ll be limited in your options.
These are the items that you want to have, but don’t necessarily need. This portion of your list includes items that are conveniences, luxuries, or items that add to the enjoyment of the home, but possibly don’t add to the home’s practicality. You may really want a home with a large front porch, but be honest, how often will you really be using that space? Large windows, an open kitchen, brick or wood finishes, a fire place, and high ceilings are all examples of items that probably belong on the “desired” list, not the “required” section.
This list is usually longer and generally includes items that can be changed with moderate time, energy, or money. Granite countertops, crown moldings, and wood flooring are all items that can be added at a later time and should not be a deal-breaker for your purchase.
What Do You NOT Want?
Just as important as what you want is what you don’t want. This list can be extensive depending both on your lifestyle and your comfort level with repairs, maintenance, and home remodeling. A swimming pool is the perfect example. Having a backyard pool is great, but many people don’t want the expense, hassle, and safety hazard of a pool on the property. A fireplace, which can give a home a comfortable, elegant charm, can also be a hazard.
What do you not want from a home? A long commute to work is often a deal-breaker, and many people avoid homes with large back yards, as they don’t want to deal with too much yard work, mowing, trimming, and landscaping.
Important Questions to Consider When Making the Wishlist for Your Next Home
If you are still having trouble making a clear wishlist, if you simply can’t decide which features you need, want, and hope to avoid, it helps to ask yourself a few important questions…
Are schools a factor?
If you have children in the home, you at least need to consider the quality of the school districts. However, even if you don’t have children, a good school district is an attractive feature for a home and can help increase demand for your home in the future.
Am I comfortable with an older home?
Older homes, in general, will require more updates. If you would prefer a home that is all but guaranteed to not need repairs, look for a newer house.
How much remodeling can I afford? Can I do any myself?
Do you mind having to pay for some remodeling in the near future? Is this something you can afford or perform yourself? Will you need loans for remodeling?
Would I prefer to be near a vibrant downtown area?
How much time do you spend dining out, shopping, and enjoying the local downtown scene? Would you be bored in the suburbs or out in a rural, quiet, peaceful setting? This can guide your choice when trying to choose the right location.
Do I need special access? Public transportation?
If you have any mobility or disability issues, you will likely need a home with special access, such as ramps. At the very least, you need a home that can easily be updated.
Do I have animals or wish to have animals in the future?
Want to get a dog? Then you likely need a good yard. Even indoor cats need a bit of extra space, so take this into consideration when looking for homes.
What is my favorite hobby?
Someone who likes golf will clearly prefer a home near a golf course. Like fishing? A house near a lake may be ideal. Surfing? Something within an easy drive to the coast is best. Your hobbies can, in many case, guide your decision.
With these tips, you can create the perfect wishlist for your future purchase. And if you have the perfect wishlist, you’ll be more likely to find the right home for your specific needs, wants, and budget.
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