Making a (Homebuying) List, Checking It Twice

December 04, 2018


The homebuying process can be a lot to handle – just like the holiday season. In both, you likely have a mile-long to-do list and are trying to stick to a budget. As you begin to make your holiday wish list, you might also consider creating a homebuying wish list.

Home with Christmas decorations

Putting pen to paper will help you visualize "wants" compared to "needs" and which of those "wants" are reasonable to look for. It will also help you prioritize. For example, you may want to walk to work in the city, but also want a large yard and no traffic. See the paradox? This is normal.

When making your homebuyer wish list, ask yourself specific daily lifestyle questions that will help you rank items in order of importance. For example:

  • Can you work from home? What type of workspace will be required for that?
  • Is a garage a necessity? How many spaces do you need?
  • Do you have the time/money to care for a yard or do you prefer a low maintenance home?

Once you're finished with your list, you'll be able to decide what elements of a potential home are must-haves as opposed to which are nice-to-haves.

Bottom line: You are going to have to make some tradeoffs, but knowing what you want and what you can afford will help you and your agent narrow in on the perfect house.

Here are some ways to start thinking about your wish list:

Location

Think about where you like to shop, where your children will attend school, where you work, where you worship, and where your friends and family live.

Do you use public transportation daily? Do you bike to work? Does driving on a major expressway bother you? Close to a gym? Views of water? Views of mountains?

Amenities

Think about the garage, kitchen and bathroom appliances, swimming pool, fireplace, air-conditioning, and hardwood floors. Do you need extra parking? Patio or deck? Laundry machines?

Size

Think about the number of bedrooms you need versus how many you want. How many bathrooms? Full or half? Separate dining room? Formal living room? Basement and attic? Family room? Home office or library? Yard size? Fenced in? Walk-in closets?

Condition

Think about having a home in move-in condition. Are you willing to put in some sweat? Are you looking for new construction? Energy efficient? Updated kitchen? Updated bathrooms? Do you need a handicap accessible home?

For more information on the homebuying process, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.