When you start the house hunting process, it’s easy to get caught up in all the “extra” features which could cause you to potentially neglect the really important things (like location, lot size, the "why" behind your buying decision, etc). Here are a few steps to help you in prioritizing during your house search.
STEP 1: Start by doing a dream home brain dump – pull up a google doc or get out a notebook and your favorite pen. Jot down every realistic feature you would love in a home to get started. This includes everything from a walk-in closet to a fenced backyard to areas of town you'd like to live in. If it’s a feature you’d love, it goes on this list! Have your spouse or significant other do this too.
STEP 2: Put these in order of importance. Go through and number them in order of your top 10 (with one being most important). If natural light is a major want, then make sure you prioritize that because it’s something you won’t be able to change. If location is important, place it high on the list.
STEP 3: Go through the list and determine what on your wish list cannot be changed. The square footage, lot size, natural light, location, view, etc.
STEP 4: Now go through and determine which of these 10 items holds priority over each other. For example, would you trade hardwood floors for a private backyard? Think of it like “would you rather” style where you have to pick one over the other.
STEP 5: Come up with your absolute 3 must haves. Highlight or circle those features and keep your list in the notes app on your phone or in a notebook you can bring with you to showings. And make sure to share them with your real estate agent. This will help him/her to identify new listings that meet your criteria.
By doing this activity, you’ll be able to make smarter home buying decisions that ensure you end up with a house that fits what you're looking for.