Many homes have so many different aspects. Hardwood floor versus carpeting. The options vary and sometimes overwhelm us.
But you can begin to grapple with this.
Let’s go over the ways to begin to decide what your House Hunting Checklist should look like and how you survive the house hunt.
Why You Need a House Hunting Checklist
Let’s start by agreeing that no home is going to match every single one of your criteria. When people decided to buy a home, they start with a list containing hundreds of very specific items. Finding a house with all those specific items is about as elusive as big foot.
Do you know that show Property Brothers? Forget about renovations. The first part of the show tells first time buyers a lot. If you want a house that has every single item you want then be prepared to pay double.
Where do you begin?
First, start with a comprehensive list of features. Use the one at the end of this article or create your own.
Second, you must prioritize and rank. This means you determine which items are more important and which are slightly less important to you.
Let’s pretend you find a great home at a great price. It has a two car garage that you insist you must have. Kitchen has been renovated, top of the line appliances, which you insist you must have. Instead of hardwood floors, which you want, the house has carpet. Do you abandon the house?
What you see is that your house hunting checklist can’t be so black and white. Yes or No. There must be shades of grey.
With that, the first thing you begin to see taking shape is a checklist where you rate how important something is. Certainly not on a scale between 1 and 10 but rather if something is a “Must Have“, “Nice to Have” or “Not Important“. Simplicity is key.
Limit the “Must Have” to those items you truly “Must Have”. If your list contains 100 “Must Have” items then reconsider if you’re ready to purchase a home.
In my experience, five is a good “Must Have” number to aim for on your house hunting checklist.
Next is to make a listing of all features that are available. Usually this list comes directly from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) because this is what you and your agent can see.
Listing of home features brings into focus those items you never considered before. It also allows you to compare different options as well.
Garage, carport or uncovered driveway? Three different options which allow parking on the premises but the method of storing is different. Which type do you prefer? Or would you rather have the yard and park on the street?
Another great point is that this list allows you to have a frank discussion with your significant other about priorities. Maybe having a fenced in back-yard is more important to you but your spouse would rather have a garage.
It’s better to have the conversation now rather than a fight later.
No one wants to be miserable. Make sure your needs or wants are addressed in order to make the house feel like a home.
Bring it all together
Once you have a list of options, go down the list and start ranking them from Very Important to Not important. If it’s important that you have a garage, mark it as so. But if a driveway will do, mark that as well.
After purchasing my first home, I wanted to upgrade to a home much closer to the beach. I told my real estate agent at the time to not even bother showing me properties if it didn’t have a driveway.
The house entered the beach area which means parking is difficult. If it’s late at night and you’re coming home, parking becomes a 30 minute odyssey and a 15 minute walk once you do find a parking spot.
Fortunately he found a house with a drive way.
Everything else didn’t matter. I wanted parking on the premises.
With a list, you can now navigate all of the different features and put together what is really important to you.
If you want to see a comprehensive list that you can use in your house hunting, click on the link below to download a copy.