Having a real estate wish list ready before you venture into the market will help you avoid impulsive decisions, delayed decision making, and spending too much time looking at homes you'd never consider.
Everyone wants something a little different when it comes to their dream home. Some people must have beautiful hardwoods while others prefer carpet. Some buyers want a home in a great school district while older couples may prefer to be near their favorite restaurants or theaters.
Having a wish list is a great way to give your real estate agent a good idea of what you want. This will mean they can show you only the best homes for your needs.
What sort of items should you add to your wish list? Consider the following items:
Home Type: Are you a condo, townhome, or single-family detached kind of buyer? There are great resources all over the web that can show you the pros and cons of each of these living situations. What's right for one buyer may not be right for another. Condos are great for those looking for low maintenance homes. A townhome can give you lots of space, but you better like stairs! Single-family homes come in all shapes and sizes. What one are you looking for?
School preferences: Do you have children or plan on having them in the near future? The schools in the district are certainly something you want to inquire about.
Neighborhoods: Whether you want a quiet suburban neighborhood or a bustling walkable downtown spot, there's something for everyone. Some people want to have a prestigious zipcode or a home in a gated community with a strict HOA. Do you want to stay in your current neighborhood or near family?
Home Condition: Some buyers want a home that is move-in ready. They don't want to mess with messy repairs. Does this sound like you? Are you instead a buyer looking for a deal on a fabulous home that just needs a little work? A fixer-up might be more your speed.
Architectural Style: Do you love the sprawling one floor plan of a Ranch style home? Does a charming French Country style home tickle your fancy? An easy way to learn more about home styles is to look at home plans online.
Home Features: This is where you can really have some fun! Consider the following and what features are most important to you: garage, great room, formal dining room, mudroom, butler's pantry, home office/study, built-ins, master suite, first-floor master, floor-to-floor carpet, outdoor living space, stainless steel appliances, granite, and other finishes.
Once you've written out your wish list, give some real thought to what items you're willing to compromise on. You may prefer to have a corner lot, but if an otherwise perfect home comes along without the corner view, would you be willing to put in an offer?
You may want a move-in ready home, but if you see a great home with a stellar price that needs an updated kitchen would you make a move?