Putting together your wants vs. needs checklist is a great way to avoid emotional decisions, allow for compromise, and act quickly when the best house that fits your needs comes on the market. Here are some home buyer tips for making a wants vs. needs checklist.
Understand the Categories
Needs: These are simply the items you cannot live without. Every buyer has their own unique set of needs. Example: Electricity, plumbing, and HVAC system are items on every home buyer's list in the need category.
Wants: These are simply the items you are willing to live without. Example: It might be nice to have a Southern New Hampshire home with 5 bathrooms, but you would be just as happy to live in a home with 3 bathrooms. Therefore 5 bathrooms become a want and you will mark it accordingly on your list.
Ask Yourself Lots of Questions
Budget: How much does it cost? A home must be within your budget. Obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage before home shopping is the best way to start.
Time: How long will we live in this home? A 2020 study showed that U.S. homeowners are now staying in their homes an average of 13.2 years before moving (the average in 2012 was much lower at 10.1 years). If you plan on having kids but haven’t started your family yet, the quality of local kindergartens and elementary schools will likely be on your needs list, but the quality of local high schools might not. National averages demonstrate you will move into a new home when your future children reach high school age. Remember to consider both long term and short term goals when generating your checklist.
Location: Where does the home need to be? Location will be at the top of everyone’s needs list. You will know the state and the region of the state. You will be narrowing your search. As you narrow your search and explore options, maintain important location items on your wants vs. needs checklist. Location items can include specific neighborhoods, public and private schools, panoramic views, distance from the office, recreational opportunities, and more. Ask yourself what things need to be located nearby for everyone in your family to flourish.
Current Home: What do I like about where I’m living now? What do I dislike? The answer to these questions is a great way to help narrow your search. Perhaps you live in a home with 8 bedrooms, but there are only 5 people in your family. Do you like having 3 extra bedrooms? Ask yourself the same question regarding the number of bathrooms, the size of the yard, and the property type of your current home (condominium, single family home, townhouse). Is my neighborhood too loud? Is my neighborhood too quiet? Your answers regarding your current home will help determine your needs or wants on the new home checklist.
Make the List
Features: Everyone’s list will be different. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development assembled a “Wish List” on their “Buying a Home” page. It is available as a downloadable pdf. The list includes needs and wants (described as must have and would like to have) with the basics, the home interior, and community features. This detailed list is a great starting point while making your wants vs. needs home buying checklist. There will be items to add and remove, but they will serve as fine inspiration.
Pelletier Realty Group works to make all of your New Hampshire real estate transactions pleasant, professional and hospitable. We invite you to explore homes in the Southern New Hampshire communities we represent. We look forward to helping you find the perfect home. Contact us today!