We have talked a lot about the shortage of homes on the market.  The other issue that a shortage of houses raises is that buyers may have to “settle” for a nice house, and may not be able to get the “house of their dreams.”  The first step in the process is always to find out from a mortgage lender how much you can qualify.   Next, of that amount, figure out how much you truly feel comfortable with paying.  Just because you can qualify for a million dollar home, does not mean that you have to buy a home at that price.  The payments, taxes, and insurance are with you for a long time, and you should definitely feel that you are paying a “comfortable amount.”  When I first moved to the area, I was told I could afford a home twice as pricey as what I bought.  But I only needed a one story, nice home for my wife and I, so why should I pay for more??

Next, and this is the point of this blog, you need to figure out what is most important to you.  Is it the size of the yard?  The size of the house?  The school district?  Parks?  Walking trails?  Neighborhood amenities?  So sit down, take a pad and a pen, and write down all of the tings that you really want in a house.  Then, put them into rank order of preference.  What are the most important things to you.  You should have at least five items that make the list.  Then, we can start the hunt.  Let’s look at it realistically.  Most people want at least a three bedroom two bath.  So that is almost a given.  But what is more important, is do you want your space in the living areas or do you want bigger bedrooms?  Do you want a big living room?  Do you need or want a separate dining room?  Some people think that dining rooms are a waste of footage, so are you one of those people?  Or do you want to have a separate room for big family gatherings, or parties with friends?  Do you spend most of your time watching television or outside?  Do you want a nice big covered patio with lots of shade?  Do you want a community pool to cool off in on hot summer days?  Once you have that list, then we can look at the absolutes.  One or two things that you just have to have.  A big master bedroom is important to some people.  A fireplace is important to others.  A big kitchen with all the best appliances is important to still more.  That one or two item list will help you to make your selection even easier, because you can quickly eliminate houses that just don’t have that.  Then, you can move down the list for the other four or five other things that are nice to have.  I would love to have a three car garage, but seeing as they are not that common in the price range I was willing to pay, I knocked that criteria off my list pretty fast.  But I knew I wanted a nice sized master bedroom, so that was a key factor in my search.

I can help you with your list, because I can tell you about common features of homes that you may not think of:  some people love vaulted ceilings, but do you know they are harder to heat?  If you want a pool, but don’t want to pay for the maintenance, maybe a community with a pool is a good alternative.  I can be there as your consultant to help you sort through the needs and the wants, and see if there are ways to get what you want, without having to pay too much for it.

I have attached a short article about Needs vs Wants in a home.  I hope you find it helpful:  https://goo.gl/MseF8u

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