The journey to finding your next home starts with a piece of paper: the needs and wants checklist. Before you hit the market, you should be able to sit down with your spouse or family to determine exactly what you are looking for in a home. This list gives you a tremendous advantage as a buyer. It saves time, as it filters out the properties that don’t make the cut. It sets aside emotions, guarding you against impulsive buys. It allows you to move quickly and not hesitate anymore once you find ‘the one’.
Now, the challenge most buyers encounter when coming up with the checklist is differentiating needs and wants. When you’re immersed in renovation reality shows and HGTV houses, it’s easy to mix up the two. So to make a pretty realistic list, refer to this guide in categorising home buying aspects.
Needs are essentially deal-breakers. Meaning, you can’t live your current lifestyle, or at least have a hard time doing it, if that aspect is not met. So, for instance, this would include the budget. If a house is beyond your financial plan, then it’s a deal-breaker, because it’s essentially going to put a strain on your life, involving transferring kids to a public school perhaps or working multiple jobs. That said, come up with a realistic homebuying budget. Calculate your expenses, income, and debts. From there, see a mortgage lender know how much home you can afford with your financial status.
Your next need is the location. Again, you will be struggling with life, taking care of the kids and holding a job, if say, you buy a home that’s out there in the woods or on top of a mountain. On the flip side, it may be difficult for you to sustain your retiree, fishing lifestyle if your home is smack right in the middle of a city, right? So location is definitely going to your needs column.
The last home buying need you need to decide on is the space. A home, however nicely painted or beautifully furnished, won’t make the cut if it doesn’t provide enough space for your family. It will be hard for your five kids to move about at a tiny home, won’t it? So the dimensions of the house, number of bedrooms, and availability of outdoor space are needs — deal-breakers when you shop around for house and land in Melbourne North.
These are the stuff that you like to see in your home, but you can do well without. Or you can add later, say, after moving in or when you have extra budget. This includes, for instance, the aesthetics of the house — paint colour, floor type, appliances style, etc. Jot down what you want specifically for these, but once you get down to the house hunting, remember that they’re not deal-breakers. Just because a home doesn’t have the pastel pink you want in the living room wall or the solid hardwood floors in the bedroom doesn’t mean you should cross it off instantly in your options. Still, the priorities are the things mentioned above.
Included in the wants column also is the amenities. For example, pool, home theatre, wine cellar, or gym. These are things you can live without. Things that may not get covered by your budget, which again is the priority. So if you stumble upon a really nice house that has your non-negotiables ticked off, but not the home theatre you want, keep it in your choices, nonetheless.
What’s on Your List?
Again, the needs-and-wants checklist is something you need to prepare way before you drop by open houses. Don’t put off this task. Do your homework now.