Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel
challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which
features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just
nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it
“Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your
list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be
So how do you go about creating your list of desired
features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval
helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in
how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a
home that’s too far out of reach.
Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to
list all the features of a home you would like. Here’s a great way to think
about them before you begin:
Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features,
it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved
ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you’d love to
have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a
home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it’s a contender (examples:
a second home office, garage, etc.).
Dream State – This is where you can really think big.
Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget
that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s
a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).
Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in
a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They’ll be
able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to
stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.
Crafting your home search checklist may seem like a small
task, but it can save you time and money. It’s also one of the keys to being
successful in today’s competitive market. Let’s connect so we can work together
to find a home that fits your wants and needs.