Creating a Dream Home Wish List
Are you itching to get into a new, or possibly first, home but you aren't quite ready to start looking? Maybe you have to bump that credit score up a few notches, maybe you don't want to move your kids in the middle of the school year, or maybe you just have a bit more down payment saving to do. Whatever the reason, you're like a kid counting down the days to the Disney vacation your parents have promised and you just HAVE to do something! I hear ya.
I was probably the most impatient child in the world, and I'm not much better as an adult, so when I had to wait weeks or months for something I would spend the time basically making a really pretty list. In other words I would write down things I would need for the big day, or things I wanted to do, and I would decorate it with drawings, magazine clippings, I'd make a collage basically.
OK, stay with me here, I'm not actually telling you to create a giant collage of how badly you want your new home (though I'm not telling you NOT to, either) but making a very detailed list is something that will benefit you later.
When you finally meet with your agent one of the first things they'll ask you is "What are you looking for in your new home? What features and amenities do you need or want?" More often than not, when I ask this question to my buyers, I'm met with blank stares because all they've been thinking about is that they want a house, they didn't really consider what kind of house. My favorite answer I've gotten to this question was "Well, I want some bedrooms.. And DEFINITELY a kitchen!"
In order for your agent to find you the home you want they obviously need to know what you're looking for, and it can be harder than you think to create that list on the spot. Starting early and coming to that first meeting with a solid list of wants and needs will help find you a home quicker and with less frustration.
First, come up with a basic list of features that you both want and need. Odds are you won't get everything on your list, but it never hurts to dream big. Don't refrain from writing something down because you think it won't exist in your price range or something. The point of the list is to give your agent as much info as possible, so even if they can't find the authentic zen garden you've always wanted, they can maybe come close.
Here's a list to get you started.
- Age: Do you prefer historic properties, or newer ones?
- Style: Do you have a special preference for ranches, bungalows, or another style of construction?
- Bedrooms: How many?
- Bathrooms: How many? Are they updated?
- Living and Dining Areas: A traditional, formal layout, or a more open, contemporary plan?
- Stories: How many?
- Square feet: How much space?
- Ceilings: How high?
- Kitchen: How big? Recently updated? Open to other living areas?
- Storage: Big closets, a shed, an extra-large garage?
- Parking: A garage or carport? Room for how many cars?
- Extras: Attic or basement?
The next thing to work on is the amenities you and your family will need. This list usually takes a bit more thought, and now a days neighborhood amenities seem to hold precedence over features for a lot of buyers. Can you live in a slightly smaller house if it means a shorter commute to work? Will you give up that two car garage for a better school district? Take your time thinking about what you want in a house vs what you want in a life style, what's best for you and your family?
Here are some things to consider.
Home amenities and extras
- Play/exercise room
- Security system
- Sprinkler system
- In-law suite
- Hot tub
- Wooded lot
- Patio, deck, or porch
- Laundry room
- Commute time: Specific time limit? The ability to walk or bike?
- Parks and recreation
- Distance from friends/family
- School district
- Shopping and grocery options
- City or country
- Foot traffic
- Pet friendly
This is only a small amount of stuff to consider and a good agent will ask you about all of it, perhaps even more. So grab a pen (and maybe some magazines and glue sticks) and you'll be walking into that agent meeting, fully prepared, before you know it.