When it comes time to buy a home, one of the things you’ll want to put together is a home priority checklist. We’ve all seen the house hunting shows on TV where the husband’s priority list is WAY different from the wife’s list and then the realtor is put in an awkward position to try to please both parties. That’s why it’s important to extend that list to wants vs. needs.
Depending on your time in life, this next home purchase may be your first home or your forever home. So your priorities will certainly look different as you purchase different homes throughout your lifetime. However, a good place to start with your home priority checklist is what your dream home would be…and then work backwards (again, depending on if this is your final dream home or not).
We are going to assume that you’ve already been pre-approved for your home loan before starting this process, because you’ve been paying attention to how many times we tell you that it’s the first step, and you’re a good little client. 🙂 This step is so important because it will give you your budget. Once you have your budget, then you can start to figure out what from your wants list will fit within your budget.
Is it land? Is it a short commute to work? Is it a chef’s kitchen? Is it a three-car garage? Is it an unfinished basement for you to make your own? Is it a pool or five bedrooms? This is where your real estate agent will be an asset to you.
Your agent should be trained to know the area of the home (or land) you’re considering, what the homes are selling for in that area and what additional features on your wants list will add to the home price.
This is where the needs list rises to the top.
This is the section of the home priority checklist that will help determine what sort of compromising you can do for your wants list. For example, if the land that you want to build your dream home on is a 30-minute commute to work, are you okay with that? If so, the land moves to your needs list and the commute stays on the wants list.
Your needs should truly outweigh your wants, and your realtor can also help you think outside the box when it comes to your list. If you fall in love with a house’s finishes but feel like the square footage is small, they should remind you that you can always change finishes, but you can’t as easily add square footage.
One more thing to consider…
In addition to the value you place on your own wants and needs, it’s a good idea to consider what adds value to your home for the purpose of resale. We understand it can feel annoying to have to consider a hypothetical buyer in the future sometime, but if you want to get money back out of your home, it’s important.
Items that add value are:
- Updated windows and appliances
- Granite countertops
- A beautiful view
- Good school districts
- Hardwood floors
Just to name a few! Your realtor can help you determine what is a personal touch and what will add value to the masses. Some examples of a personal touch that may deter buyers are giant murals in a bedroom, a chicken coop, basement dance studio…you get the idea. It may add value to you because it cost money and was on your want list, but it could actually bring the value of your home down.
So when it comes to that house priority checklist, break it down to your wants and needs and share it with your realtor. They’re not trying to be a marriage counselor, but they are a great middle man to bounce ideas off of as well as someone who can keep things realistic without offending.At Dani Beyer Real Estate, we have a team of Buyer’s Agents who are ready to consider your list and find the home that will fit your needs, and hopefully wants as well!