happy couple buying a homeAlthough you may be tempted to spontaneously make an offer on a house that triggers happy memories of your childhood, it’s usually best to approach buying a home in a methodical, dispassionate way.

Your emotions will come into play as you visit different listings, but they should be tempered by a realistic budget, a list of personal requirements, and a sprinkling of “wish list” items — ones that will help make your new home extra special!

A lot will depend on whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a seasoned home owner. In all likelihood, the more houses you’ve owned, the higher your expectations will be. That’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule, but it does lend itself to reason. As is the case with most things in life, experience tends to clarify our needs, our tolerances, our quality standards, and our lifestyle preferences.

Buying a home is a huge decision for two reasons: It not only impacts our financial situation (both immediate and long term), but it effects our quality of life for the foreseeable future. So, similar to the institution of marriage, buying a house is a commitment that should not be taken lightly!

Create a list of house hunting requirements and preferences. Although the location, school district, and number of bedrooms will probably have a major bearing on your decision, there are literally dozens of other features and characteristics that will influence your final choice. Among those will be square footage, number of bathrooms, the property’s tax rate and whether you prefer new construction or a resale home. There are many advantages to buying a new home, including the fact that you may be able to make some or all of the selections for your finishes. These could include paint & stain colors, tile, cabinets, countertops and appliances.

Standard checklists that include a wide range of home buyer requirements are available online. These checklists will help you rank each house you visit and objectively compare the homes you like the best. While flexibility is a necessary part of a successful house-hunting campaign, there will invariably be items you won’t want to compromise on.

By deciding in advance what your new home should include, you’ll create a clear vision of the type of living environment you and your family will find the most satisfying. Whether you’re looking for a home with an open floor plan, a covered porch, one or more fireplaces, a finished basement or a two-car garage, getting your requirements down on paper is the first step to turning your house-buying goals into reality!

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