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Needs vs. Wants vs. Must-haves for Homes

Thursday, June 23, 2022   /   by Margie Wright

Needs vs. Wants vs. Must-haves for Homes

It's entirely normal to have difficulties finding the right home. That's something to be expected before you even go into searching for a new home. Even with a real estate agent and everything else in order, knowing what you want, need, and must have is key to being able to choose a home that works for you. Making a list of what you want, need, and must have will be a great help as you start searching and doing home tours.

But what makes wants, needs, and must haves different? How do you decide what things go in which category? An easy example is that everyone needs a roof over their head, air conditioning, heat unit, and running water. However, you don't necessarily need a pool, white picket fence, and hardwood floors. Those are wants. You don't need them immediately, but you can get them down the road. 

Why it's important to differentiate wants, needs, and must-haves:
- Prevent emotional buying
- Eliminate homes that are a bad fit
- Find the best house for your needs
- Make appropriate compromises
- Act swiftly when the right house comes along



What is a home buying must-have?
Must-haves are items you cannot live without under any circumstance. These include items like decent plumbing, electricity, heating, and air conditioning. However, you don't have to stop there for must-haves. This list can, and should, include things like safety and accessibility. Sometimes you need to limit the amount of stairs in your home, or maybe you need a level lot. Make sure you have that on your list of must-haves for your home. And also make sure to tell that information to your real estate agent! They'll be able to look for homes that meet exactly what you must have in your next home.

What is a home buying need?
The need items are more a bit more forgiving than your must-have items, but it's only more forgiving by a small margin. These are items like location, parking, schooling, etc. These have some wiggle room. You may want to be solely within one city, but a home that meets your other needs and must-haves (maybe even some of your wants) that is right outside the city you want to be in could mean some wiggle room in that need. Your needs list will have a very high priority when looking for a home.

What is a home buying want?
Your want items will be fall at the bottom of your priority list. These items will be flexible. A house could have everything else you want and need other than a few items from your want list, and giving up those wants that are missing would be fine. It's always possible that you could add in your extra wants down the line. If you want a pool, then you could have that installed later on. If you want a fenced in yard, that can also easily be done after you get the home.



Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home
If a home doesn't meet a specific need, is remodeling possible?
- Maybe the home doesn't have a garage so you consider building one. Always ensure that building codes are being complied with before making any remodeling plans. Every homebuyer should review the costs it would take to complete the necessary remodeling as well. Also consider any additional costs that could come up should the timeline for building fall through.

Are expectations realistic?
- It's not uncommon for homebuyers to try and find everything they want in one house. To be honest, it's often very unrealistic. Much of buying a home is all about tradeoffs and compromises. Realistically, you have to think about if everything you want will work in your current budgeted price range. Knowing what will and won't work, and knowing what you're okay with giving up, will make the process easier to handle when it comes to compromising.

How long do I plan to live in the new home?
- Average homeownership is 13 years. But every homebuyer has a different goal. For some people, they may be looking just for a vacation home that they aren't going to spend every single day in. For others, it may be their forever home form the get-go. Consider your long-term goals. If you plan on welcoming pets, children, or family into your living situation, you may want to opt for a home with more rooms and space. 

What are some likes and dislikes about the current living situation?
- Every living situation has pros and cons. Do you like how much storage space you have in closets? Do you enjoy the proximity to fun activities, like shopping and restaurants? Do you hate that it isn't very modern? Does it not have enough rooms? These are things to consider since that will help you to build your checklist. Make sure to consider how much these different factors are currently affecting your life. That'll help you prioritize.


Needs and Must-haves
Location - Consider commute times. Consider if you want to be close to other people or out on your own. If school districts are important, then you may have to decide whether you prioritize being close to schools or your job. If you're wanting additional acreage with the home, consider that that may limit your locations. Know what areas you'd love to live in, would be okay living in, and what areas are off limits entirely.

Space - With so many different types and styles of homes, they'll each come with their own variety of space. This is where you have to think about what you need, at the minimum, for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall square footage. Think long-term and short-term. What do you need right now versus what do you think you'll need in the future? 

Budget - Get preapproved, or know your cash budget, before you start home shopping. This is a very big thing. You have to know your budget. If a home is outside your price range, it's a waste of time to look at it - especially if you fall in love with it. The budget is going to be the first deal-breaker as you start home shopping. You need to have your budget worked out entirely.


Wants in a Home
Amenities - It can be easy to confuse wants and needs when it comes to amenities. Take out the must-haves here. Garage, home office space, hot tub, pool, all those are wants. You don't need those to survive in the home. 

Aesthetics - Carpet, paint color, fireplace, type of flooring, floor plan, style of appliances, and built-in garage space are all examples of aesthetic things that can be changed in a home. The looks of a home can easily be changed and updated. It may be something that happens a while after you get the home, but don't overlook a home just because of the aesthetics. Most all of the aesthetic things you don't like about a home can be changed!


If you're looking for that dream home to call your own, reach out! I can help you decide between wants and needs, explain more about the process, and also provide you with a checklist of wants and needs for you to feel out and get a better idea of what you're looking for!

  homes, tips, homebuyers, buyers, first time buyer

Hurst Real Estate and Auction - Margie Wright Property Marketing Group
Margie Wright
221 East Main Street, Suite 103
Morristown, TN 37814
423-312-9220
423-353-1112

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