best way to get the home you want is to know exactly what you want. You have to
know whether you want a yard or not to determine whether a single family home
would be better than a condo. You also need to know your real estate market. How
do single family homes sell in your area compared to condos? Which has a better
You also need to know what features are important in your home.
Do you absolutely need three full baths or would two do the trick? Do you need
to be in a good school district or are your children grown and gone? These are
the things worth thinking about before you start looking at every model home you
Sit down with every member of your family
and make a list of everything you would like to see in the new home. This includes
everything from safety features to a home theater system. Be as complete as possible
with your list. Add in a wood fireplace in the kitchen if you have always wanted
one. Be bold. Don't worry about money at this point; just dream a little about
what your ideal home would have.
list is complete, you can get a little more practical. Start by dividing a piece
of paper into three columns marked wishes, wants and needs. Then start placing
each item on your list into one of the three categories.
column will include everything you would have in your new home if money were no
object. This means items like the restaurant-style range in the kitchen or the
complete home theater system in the basement.
The "wants" column
includes items that you would really, really like in your new home but that aren't
essential to everyday life.
The "needs" column is the crux of
the matter. This column should include everything that must be in the house regardless
of money. It means that any home you see that does not include these items will
be marked off your list. This column should include such items as an accessible
bathroom on the ground floor if you have an elderly family member living with
you. It should include good school system if you have children in school still.
It should include safety concerns and basic necessities, like the number of bedrooms
Your list will help you define your search. It will also
help direct your real estate agent
so he or she can show you the houses that match your list.
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