Assessing Needs & Wants
The question of what you want in your home seems like a simple question, but it may not be the right one to ask first when you’re preparing for a move. By adding a few more words, you arrive at a much more useful question: What do you want in a home, and what do you really need?
Although I try my very best with every client to check all the boxes, the reality is that without an unlimited budget, most homebuyers aren’t likely to get 100% of what they want.
Unless you distill out the things you truly need from those which you’d love to have but can live without, your search could be a frustrating experience.
Fortunately, offering a balanced, experienced, outside perspective in putting together this important starting point, is part of the service I provide.
Listing your Priorities
It’s useful to think about a list with four categories:
- Amenities/features you need
- Amenities/features you want
- Amenities/features you don’t want
- Absolute deal-breakers
Here are a few key areas to consider as you begin thinking about your wants and needs:
Size and Type of Home
The size of your household and the way you want to live your life will be major factors here.
This is the one thing you can’t change about a piece of real estate. If you need to be in a certain location for work, school, family life, consider the importance of location.
Most of the want side of the list usually comes up when discussing amenities — both those within the home (like balconies, fireplaces, stone countertops, pool/hot tub) — and those nearby the home (shopping centres, hiking trails, restaurants). It’s important to recognize the needs in this area, however, which might include things like a garage or patio, or being nearby to work, school, or access to transit. With a little self-reflection, and honesty, you can begin to separate which will be which. As well, an experienced agent will know what questions to ask to help you get clear on the ‘why’s behind the ‘whats’ that end up on your list.
Think about your pets, love (or hatred) of gardening, or how near or far you might like to be from your neighbours.
Everyone’s situation is unique, and considering the likely time horizon for your purchase may shift your focus to different wants and needs as you factor in both short- and long-term goals.
Remember that different needs and wants come with different price tags, which can also vary by area.
It’s reasonable to set your expectations that it’s unlikely you will get 100% of what you want, but the hope will be to get you everything you need. Comparing different homes and considering their relative trade-offs or compromises can be tough, but going through the process with a clear picture of your highest priorities, backed up by a trusted advisor, will help you maximize your needs and wants, while honouring your budget.