Making a list and checking it twice? If you’re looking at buying a new home in the new year, making your new home wish list is a priority.
If this is your first home, or even your move-up home, chances are you aren’t going to be here forever. Today, the average family’s home needs change every five to seven years. They need to downsize, move to another city, add square footage, address health problems or sell because of financial needs. Planning for today is much easier than looking into a crystal ball for 5, 10 or 15 years down the…. driveway.
Make your wish list and include size, location, features, housing type, bedrooms, bathrooms…. If this is your starter home, the list is going to differ from growing families and those looking for their retirement haven. Determine what is a must-have and what is a should-have. Must haves are essentials. If you’re expecting a child, a two-bedroom home is a must-have. A should-have is not essential meaning a third bedroom is not a necessity, unless grandma will be moving in to help look after the new baby. A clean, functional kitchen is a must-have and may have to suffice in place of a gourmet kitchen with double ovens, granite counters and massive breakfast bar.
Three bedrooms is the ideal but is it? Instead of a bedroom, can the “office” be a corner of the family room. Today we’ve got laptops and wireless printers so much less space is required than in the desktop monitor/fax machine/printer world of a decade ago. Are you in business or is it possible to simply have a desk for bill-paying and web surfing as part of the kitchen. Can that second or third bedroom “office” also double as a guest room with foldout sofa? There are plenty of furniture options that work as bookshelf/desk along with drawers for bedding and overnight guests.
If this is your very first home, you may be one or two home purchases and moves away from your “dream home.” If you’re looking for everything on your wish list: walk-in closet, ensuite bath, finished basement…… that’s going to add to the price. Can you live with just one bathroom, or a bathroom and powder room? Save the dream ensuite for the next home. Walk-in closets are wonderful, but they take away precious space from other bedrooms. Keep that on the wish list for the next house. An upper laundry is also convenient but doing laundry in the basement is a small price to pay until you move on in the housing market.
House or Condo?
You may be thinking about a house, but have you considered a condo. Something with a view and great amenities could come in under budget vs a detached home. A condo or townhome is a nice compromise for a few years.
Location, Location, Location
Once you determine what you can afford and what you need, location will totally change that! That is, if you are looking in the trendiest part of town it will certainly show an increase in price. You can live in a slightly less desirable neighborhood, but you can’t live in a house you can’t afford. If you can identify an up and coming area, you have the potential for some wealth building. As well as building equity, your home will increase in value as others catch on to what you already know. Their demand will cause prices to rise.
So make a list, include all your dream features, and then prioritize what you really need for today to meet your budget and your needs.