Narrow Down the Must Have List for Your Dream Home

Written by Posted On Thursday, 11 June 2015 06:30

If you've ever bought a new house, you've probably been there: that magical moment when you begin to list all of the features that your new home must have in order to qualify as your dream home. This list might have included the extras that you desired in a neighborhood, school district, and commute, but most likely it focused most on every feature you had ever dreamed of having in your home, from style to footage to amenities.

So … how do you narrow down your big dreams to a scale that fits your budget?


Checklists can always be helpful. Start by making a comprehensive list of the details that are important to you. Architectural style. Age. Accessibility. Location. Whole-house features such as central air or a particular type of heating system. Then go room by room (don't forget the yard and any additional amenities, like a swimming pool, that you are looking for). List your wishes for every room, as well. A spa bath? Hardwood floors?  Master bedroom with en suite bath? Built-in refrigerator?


Now, take your list and assign each room, area, or amenity one of three designations: Must Have, Would Prefer, and Possible Point of Compromise. Be realistic and weigh certain wish list items against each other. To help put things in perspective, you might wish to make some comparisons. For example, which is more important to you – a formal dining room or a breakfast nook? A finished basement or a sunroom? A three-car garage or an in-law suite? 


Of course, if you have a spouse, significant other, or families members whose desires must be considered during a home purchase, you'll need to foster some cooperation among two or more people, which can be tricky. You can do this by collaborating on one list or making separate lists and then merging them.


Usually it's easy to decide on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms your desire, but here are some questions to consider. Do you need a home office, a guest bedroom and a play room, or could one room serve several functions? Does each of your children need a separate bedroom? What is the minimum number of full bathrooms to keep your family happy, and do they all need both a bathtub and a shower?


Would you compromise size for style? Are you willing to purchase a "fixer-upper" and painstakingly make it your own, or would you prefer a home that is in move-in condition? Sometimes older homes have charm but can be fraught with maintenance issues, so you should consider how much effort and expense you are willing to put into a new home.


Now partner with a real estate agent. He or she will be able to tell you how realistic your list looks based on your budget. Perhaps you've narrowed down your desires sufficiently, or maybe there's more work to be done. By ranking the features on your checklist, you can probably hone in on the very most important features on your "dream house" list.


By sharing your list with your agent, he or she will also be able to target homes that meet most of your criteria. With checklist in hand, you're ready to start your home search. Good luck!


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Kristin Brown

Kristin Brown is a realtor for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lexington, MA. As a lifelong Lexington resident, Kristin has deep local roots. She has served Lexington and the surrounding communities for eight years, working with buyers, sellers and developers. She is 110-percent committed to achieve all of her clients expectations. Kristin graduated for the University of Massachusetts and is a member of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, MAR, NAR, MLS-PIN, Women's Council of Realtors, and a recipient of The International Elite Award.

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