Home Buying Checklist: Need vs. Want

With so much to consider when buying a home, it can become overwhelming. Creating a checklist before beginning the search can serve as a helpful guide. If you find that your list is getting longer each day, maybe it’s time to divide that wish list into two separate columns: Needs vs. Wants.

You might be surprised at how many features or details that you thought you needed are just extras you’d enjoy having in your new space. Creating these two lists is especially beneficial when shopping within a specific budget.

When hunting for your dream home, here are a few tips as you organize your list of what you need in your home and what you want.

Needs vs. Wants

It might be easy to sneak all the items from your wants list into the need column, but not so fast. Perhaps that fireplace you want really won’t get used that much, making it less of a necessity.

Let’s talk about what’s considered a need.

Anything you jot down in your need column would be a dealbreaker. This is something that you simply won’t bend on. If you need a fourth bedroom, you will not settle for a three-bedroom home. These are essentials that it would be impossible, or very difficult, to live without.

The professionals at Money Under 30 recommend starting the process backwards by listing out everything you want in your dream house. Think big and write down all the details. Next, think about your budget. When you bring your budget into the mix, you will quickly realize what you’re willing to pay for and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

A few common home needs:

  • Adequate square footage for comfortable living
  • Sufficient bedrooms for your family
  • Sufficient bathrooms
  • Comfortable eat-in kitchen
  • Backyard for children's or pet's play area
  • Easy access to schools of your choice

A few common home wants:

  • Specific carpeting, paint, exterior color
  • Swimming pool or jacuzzi
  • Hardwood floors, tile or carpet
  • Bay windows
  • Skylights

As you prepare your list, ask yourself the right questions.

  • What do you like or dislike about where you live now?
  • How long will you live in your new home? 
  • Are your expectations realistic? 
  • If a home doesn’t meet a need as is, can you remodel?

Focus on value items.

In which column should value items fall on your list? That depends on whether you’re focusing on resale value. Value items are features that add value to the property for future buyers. In the current booming market, buyers don’t care as much about the wants anymore. Now, buyers are focusing on intangible features and value items to assure an easy sell in the future.

Items that add value include dual-pane windows, granite countertops, acreage, a beautiful view and a location in a top-rated school district. First-time homebuyers will most likely prioritize amenities such as an updated kitchen, updated baths, open floor plans, garage storage space, a patio, laundry rooms and a walk-in pantry among many other things. If you’re concerned with your resale value, maybe a few of these items belong on your need list.

Use a home-buying checklist and get started.

Money Under 30 and Framework both offer great needs vs. wants home shopping checklists. Try them out, and when you’re ready to make your list and find your dream home, call us at (817) 717-6036 to get started!









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