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Buying A Home: You Want What You Need

Nov 13, 2007
Searching for a home can be an exciting, hope-filled, stressful, and uncertain experience, all at the same time. To help alleviate some of this stress and uncertainty, it is suggested that you create a "Wants and Needs" assessment. It may sound simple, and it is, but it can save you a great deal of time in narrowing down homes to investigate and preview. Walking through homes that have nearly everything you are looking for, except that extra bedroom, extra bathroom, full basement or other component you cannot live without, can be a frustrating experience. No need to fear! Gather your family, get comfortable, and start your assessment. Simply list items which are "must haves" as your NEEDS, and items you would "like to have" as your WANTS. This exercise will force you to take a more in-depth look into one of the most important purchase decisions of your life. It will also help to keep things realistic. If you have a $150,000 limit to purchase a home, but you think you need a 10,000 square foot mansion with gourmet kitchen, gym, indoor swimming pool, tennis court, and manicured gardens in Beverly Hills, you may need to reconsider your needs or play the lottery. OK, that example is extreme, but I think you get the point. Take a realistic and honest approach to what you need. Once you begin searching for homes that meet your needs, any additional "wants" will be an added bonus, and may help you to decide on one home over another.

There would seem to be a limitless number of categories to consider for your list, but keeping to the major areas for your "needs" side is a good starting point. Major areas to consider could be square footage, bedrooms, baths, location, age, overall condition, acreage, basement type, water supply, heating type, access, and garage. The "wants" side might contain things such as interior and exterior decoration items, floor and wall coverings, window type, appliances, counter tops, fireplace, deck, Jacuzzi, and pool. Notice that the wanted categories contain things that can be added or changed relatively easily, while the needed areas would require a significant commitment of time and resource to remedy. Of course, the age and location of the home cannot be changed at all. Only you and your family can determine which items are important enough to be included on your assessment, but keep in mind that the more extensive your list of needs, the smaller the number of homes that will meet your criteria. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon the housing supply in your target area. Your real estate agent should be able to assess your list and determine if it's reasonable in the area you are looking and for what you plan to spend.

You may find that your list will change during your home search. This is perfectly normal as you put more thought into your requirements and adapt your list to the current market of available homes for sale within your price range. Stay true to your core needs and you will find the home you want. Why? Because you made the list and know that you "Want What You Need". Happy House Hunting!
About the Author
The author is a contributing mortgage consultant with the popular Refinance Tool Box. Visit today for free information and tools provided to help you learn about mortgage refinance.
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