Finding your dream home may not be easy, but there are things you can do to make it easier, such as making a list of “must-haves” and a list of “nice-to-haves.” These lists allow serious home buyers to save time, energy, and ultimately money as they prepare to buy a home.

A must-have list is exactly what it sounds like, a checklist of the non-negotiable details for your new home. It is essential to sit down and think about the things you need to feel comfortable there for the next 7-13 years.

Your “Nice-To-Haves” list is a checklist of details you’d like to have, but can’t do without. This list is great for those things you’ve always dreamed of but may be out of reach for reasons like your budget or location. This list may include things like fireplaces or gas appliances, a swimming pool, or other non-essential items.

Your “must-haves” list focuses your search and helps your real estate agent determine which homes are worth your time. Your “Nice-to-Haves” list will help you determine what you’re willing to sacrifice, which will ultimately cement your must-haves.

These lists can also help you manage your expectations regarding price. Bring your listings to your broker, along with your lender’s prior approval, and you’ll be able to work together to determine a reasonable demand within your budget and your preferred location.

Making your list of “must-haves”

The first step is to think about the essence. If things like location and number of bedrooms and bathrooms are a priority, you’ll want to include them in your must-haves. Think about where you live now and use that as a starting point; what do you like and what do you miss? You may need more storage space, an extra room to work remotely, or a bigger backyard for the newest member of the family.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you build your “must-have” list:

  • Where do you want to live? (Be as specific as possible.)
  • What do you have now that you can’t live without?
  • What are you missing now that you might need in the coming years?

If you’re having trouble determining what you need, you can start working on your “Nice-To-Haves” list. This can also help you determine what is essential. For example, it might be nice to have five bedrooms, when a three-bedroom house with a flex space suitable for an office or guest room would actually suffice.

Creating Your “Nice-To-Haves” List

As you work on your “Nice-To-Haves” list, think about the parts of a home that would be great to have, but aren’t that important to you. You can also consider what is reasonable in your area and whether it is a general facility.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you build your “Nice-To-Haves” list:

  • What house upgrades are you willing to make?
  • What would you like to do more often at home?
  • What do you have in your current home that you love but don’t need?

Looking for your next home

These lists will help you and your estate agent while looking for your next home. During this process, you may realize that some aspects are not as important to you as you thought, and vice versa. Keep your real estate agent informed as you update your listings so they can keep looking for the perfect home for you.

Are you looking for a real estate agent who can help you with the purchase process of your home? Connect with an agent: