How To Find The Perfect Home For You And Your Family

Want to make the home buying process much more organized and enjoyable?  

It's important to be realistic about what you can afford and what is available in the communities where you want to live.  It's also important to realize that no house is perfect, and you will need to make compromises.  Your goal should be to get a home you really like that fits your needs and your budget. 

Your first step should be to sit down and make a list of what features are in your perfect home and organize the items into 3 main categories:

1.  Needs (“Must Haves”, things on which you can't and won't compromise)

If you have four children, you may need a minimum of 3 bedrooms and you probably need more.  You may need a certain minimum number of bathrooms.  You may need to live in a specific community where your children can stay in the same great school system.  And you may not be willing to drive more than 30 minutes to work.  There aren't too many actual needs when it comes to buying a house.  Think about it . . . as long as the house is in the location you desire, then pretty much anything else about it can be changed.  However, one of your needs may be to NOT remodel or make any changes, which will make you a little more inflexible. 

2.  Wants (You really want these, but can live without them if you must)

Wants are features you really want, but can live without.  Perhaps you love to cozy up to the fireplace in the winter, and are an avid swimmer and sun worshipper in the summer, then you may really want a fireplace and a swimming pool.  How about a finished basement with a wet bar.  Or you really want a 4 bedroom home so that you can have a guest room for the occasional visitor, but you don't really need it.  If you find a great house in a great location and it only has 3 bedrooms, but it has a few of your other 'wants', it may be the perfect place for you given your price range.  

3.  Likes (It would be really awesome to get these)

These are items that aren’t necessarily part of your search criteria but would be really great to have.  You won’t say no to a house that doesn’t have them, but you would be happy if they were there.  A third stall in a garage might be an example.  A tree house in the back yard.  A large yard (remembering large yards can be nice but they require maintenance too).  A cul-de-sac location.  Lots of trees.  These can be good examples of things you might like to have but are more like hopes.

Once your list is made, share it with your Real Estate Agent.  It will help them understand your home buying desires better, and they may come up with some homes to see that have all of your needs, some of your wants, and perhaps even a few likes; homes that you may have overlooked on your online search.  

It's easy to pass up a house that may be perfect for you because the online marketing is not good, the photos are dark and dingy, or the current owner has really awful furniture and decor that is making the house look undesirable.  When they leave, they take all that with them, and perhaps you only need to give the place a fresh coat of paint in the colors you love to make it perfect..

In a tight market, like it is now, it's more important than ever to remain flexible, make a few compromises, and look beyond the cosmetics.