If you are in the market for a new home, you likely have a list of features you would like to see in your new abode. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned house hunter, it is essential to prioritize your wishlist to find a home that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Here are some tips on how to prioritize your house hunting wishlist:
Determine your non-negotiables
The first step in prioritizing your wishlist is to determine what you cannot compromise on. These are your non-negotiables, and they will vary depending on your situation. For example, if you have a large family, a certain number of bedrooms may be a non-negotiable for you. If you work from home, you may need a dedicated workspace.
Other non-negotiables could include a certain location, a specific type of home (e.g., single-family, townhouse, condo), or a particular school district. Whatever your non-negotiables are, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need before you start your search.
Rank your wishlist in order of importance
Once you have identified your non-negotiables, the next step is to rank the other items on your wishlist in order of importance. Some features may be nice to have, but not essential, while others may be deal breakers if they are not included in the home.
For example, having a large yard may be important to you, but it may not be as important as having a certain number of bedrooms or being in a specific location. Similarly, having an updated kitchen may be a nice-to-have, but it may not be as critical as having a home office.
By ranking your wishlist in order of importance, you will have a clear idea of what you are willing to compromise on and what you are not.
Consider your budget
Your budget is critical when prioritizing your wishlist. You may want a home with all the bells and whistles, but if it is out of your price range (btw, this shouldn’t be set arbitrarily; talk to a real estate professional to see if your budget is too large – to avoid becoming house-poor – or too small – to avoid regrets of settling in a sub-optimal home)… well, you just can’t have it.
Take some time to evaluate your budget and determine what you can comfortably afford. This will help you focus your search on homes that fit within your budget and prioritize the features that are most important to you.
While it is important to have a clear idea of what you want in a home, it is also important to be flexible. You may not find a home that checks all the boxes on your wishlist, but you may find one that comes close. Be open to compromise and consider homes that have the features that are most important to you. For example, if you cannot find a home with a large yard in the location you want, consider a home with a smaller yard or a townhouse with a community green space.
Re-evaluate your wishlist as you go
As you start looking at homes, you may find that your priorities shift. You may discover that certain features are not as important as you thought, or you may realize that there are other features you would like to add to your wishlist.
Take the time to re-evaluate your wishlist as you go and make any necessary adjustments. This will help ensure that you are focused on finding a home that meets your current needs and priorities.
Don't forget about the intangibles
While it is important to prioritize the physical features of a home, it is also important to consider the intangibles. These are the things that cannot be changed about a home, such as the neighborhood, the neighbors, or the local amenities.
Take some time to consider the intangibles and how they fit into your lifestyle. For example, if you enjoy spending time outdoors, you may want to prioritize a home that is near parks or hiking trails. If you have children, you may want to consider the quality of the local schools or the safety of the neighborhood.
While these may not be physical features of a home, they can have a significant impact on your overall satisfaction with the property.
Work with a real estate agent
Working with a real estate agent can be a great way to prioritize your wishlist and find a home that meets your needs. An experienced agent will be able to help you identify your non-negotiables and rank the other features on your wishlist.
They can also provide valuable insight into the local market and help you find homes that fit within your budget. Additionally, a good agent will be able to help you stay flexible and consider homes that may not check all the boxes on your wishlist.
Finally, it is important to be patient when searching for a new home. Finding the perfect home can take time, and it is not uncommon to have to adjust your wishlist or compromise on certain features.
Remember that your home is likely to be one of the most significant investments you make in your lifetime, so it is important to take the time to find the right one.