Evaluating Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer Is More Important Today

You'll want to be strategic when it comes to buying a home, especially given today's affordability issues. Mortgage rates influence the cost of borrowing money for a house loan. To offset today's higher borrowing prices, some homebuyers are re-evaluating their wish lists and re-evaluating the features they actually need in their next house to prevent overextending themselves. As a recent NerdWallet article says:

“A pool, for example, may be nice to have, but it may not provide as much day-to-day value as a garage or a space for a home office . . .”

While that pool may be appealing, think twice about whether or not it’s really something you must have to be happy in your next home. Is getting that pool the main reason you’re moving? Probably not. It’s more likely a need for more space, a home office, or proximity to loved ones, friends, or work that’s motivating you to make a change.

So, if you're in the market for a new home, think about what's genuinely important to you in your next home. Make a list of all the features you wish to see, and then attempt to categorize those features. Here's a wonderful technique to keep your list organized:

  • 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 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 these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, a 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: a pool, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Discuss your top priorities with your real estate agent once you've classified them in a way that works for you. Remember to consider what is a must-have for your lifestyle and what is a nice-to-have that is more of a bonus. Make sure to discuss the placement of each feature with your agent. They'll be able to help you refine your list even further, train you on how to stick to it, and find a property in your region that fulfills your top requirements.

Bottom Line

Creating a list of important characteristics for your new house may appear to be a minor effort, but it is a critical planning stage in your homebuying process today. Let's talk if you're ready to find a home that meets your needs.

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