You’ve been pre-approved and know what you can afford, so it’s time to start home shopping. But the hunt for your dream home will stall rapidly if you don’t know what that “dream” looks like.
It’s easy to talk in generalities about wanting a “big” house or an “older” home. But in order to better target your real estate search, you must think specifically about your dream dwelling. Will your “big” house be 2,400 square feet or 5,000? When you say “older” home, do you mean one built pre-1900, or pre-1980?
Before you visit another open house, sit down and make a list of your needs and wants — and yes, those are two different things. You may want a pool, but you probably could live without it. (Plus, it’s worth considering that having a pool could raise your home insurance costs.)
Understand that your requirements list will likely change as you learn more about your housing options. Proximity to the beach may start as a priority, for example, but once you see the size of ocean-front homes you can get in your price range, you may decide a short drive to the water is quite bearable. Unless you have an unlimited budget, it’s likely you’ll need to make compromises along the way.
Use these questions to help make your very own list of housing requirements.
- Are you pre-approved for a mortgage?
- What’s your price range?
- Are you willing to do extra renovation?
- Suburban, urban or rural?
- What city do you want to live in?
- Do you want easy access to highways?
- Are there suitable schools nearby?
- How important is the view?
- Can you sleep easily with traffic noise?
- One-story, two-story, townhouse or condo?
- Could you live in a historic home?
- How many bedrooms?
- How many bathrooms?
- Want a guest room?
- Hardwood or carpet floors?
- What a Architecture style do you like best
- Do you need any special features for your pets?
- Do you need wheelchair access or limited stairs?
- Do you need a space for a car or is street parking sufficient?
- How important is walking to you?