When the time comes to begin your search for the perfect home, there’s a good chance you have an idea of what you’d like to find inside it. An open-concept floor plan, hardwood flooring and a large backyard may be at the top of your list. It’s a good idea, however, to establish a solid list of needs and wants in order to avoid purchasing a home with a price tag beyond what your budget allows.
Your needs: These are the must-have features that you can’t live without. For those with children, you will likely need a home with at least three bedrooms. For those who work from home, a home office will be a must-have feature. When it comes to bathrooms, be prepared to settle for a home with two. You will need one for family use and one for guests; a master ensuite is an added bonus.
The kitchen is one space that many house hunters don’t want to compromise on, particularly the person who does the most cooking. When viewing homes, pay close attention to things like counter space, layout and cupboard space. These are factors that will come into play on a daily basis and cannot be changed without major renovation.
Depending on the number of vehicles you own, having ample space for parking is a definite need. If you have children and/or pets, you will also want to consider outdoor space. A backyard doesn’t have to be huge, but many people consider it a necessity for little ones and/or pets.
Your wants: Once the ‘sticker-shock’ sets in, you may find that items you originally thought of as “needs” can actually be categorized as “wants”. It’s more important to stay within your budget than it is to buy a home that is loaded with extras. Granite countertops, an island and a marble backsplash would be lovely to have, but remember that you can always add these features down the road when you can afford it. The same goes for hardwood floors, a finished basement and a pool in the backyard. The best part about buying a home you can improve on is the opportunity to earn a return on your investment.