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Step #3:  Needs & Wants

Things start to get a lot more interesting - and fun - at this point.  Once you know what you can spend, you can start making a list of needs and wants.  Lots of things go into this list - and all should be identified as "Needs" - Things you must have in your new home; and "Wants" - Things you'd like to have in your new home.  

Make sure you are as honest as possible with yourself - and with others involved in the new-house hunt when deciding what your "Needs" are.  These are requirements, and if they're missing in a house, you should move on to another.  Realistically, of course, it's tough to be this disciplined, and you will likely encounter situations where your "needs" become "wants," and vis-versa.  

Keeping that combination of discipline and flexibility in mind, here are some of things that might be on your "Needs" list:

  • Number of bedrooms

  • One floor, two floors, more

  • Garage - Room for one, two, or more cars

  • Basement - Finished or unfinished

  • Main level master bedroom

  • Baths - One, two, more?

  • Pool - In-ground?  Above ground?

  • Main level laundry

  • Eat-in Kitchen

  • Formal Dining Room

  • Central Air Conditioning

  • Waterfront, water access

  • Fenced yard, room for kids to play

  • Family Room

  • Pole Barn

What would YOUR "Needs" list look like?  What other key features are essential to you?  When you think carefully about it, your "Needs" list is probably rather short.  Many of the things you'd love to have, many things you've said you "can't live without" really belong on the "Wants" list.  

I encourage you to actually go through the process of creating your "Needs" list.  It will be of immense help to you and your Realtor (me)!

Moving on to your "Wants" list, it's the list that really starts to define the house you really hope to find.  Unlike the "Needs," which are absolutes, "Wants" come with built-in priorities.  Some are just more important to you than others.  Here's a sample list to get you started.

  • Hardwood floors

  • Granite counters

  • Stainless steel appliances

  • Fireplace

  • Sprinkler system

  • Ceiling fans

  • Water softener

  • Master bath

  • Kitchen island

  • Garage door opener(s)

  • Washer & Dryer

  • Cathedral ceilings

  • Gas range

  • Whole-house generator

  • Security system

  • Garden tub

  • Workshop

  • Walk-in pantry

I know what you're thinking!  "This isn't MY list of "Wants" 

I'm glad I got you thinking for yourself!  Go ahead and start your own list.  Do it in pencil, though, because it is likely to change - a lot.  In fact as soon as you start looking at houses, your list will change.  You'll see great features you never new you wanted - You'll see the things that make houses distinctive and unique.  

Your Key Step - Needs & Wants:  

Get out a pencil and paper - Write down your "Needs" and "Wants."  Discuss them with your significant others.  Be prepared to make changes to both lists over time.

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