On The List
As a homebuyer, your "needs vs. wants" list is one of your most important documents. Here's how it can serve as a valuable tool at different stages of the home-buying process.
- Creating a "needs vs. wants" list helps you – and your real estate representative – figure out exactly what it is you're looking for in a property, thus narrowing the scope of your home search. Creating that list before you start shopping will save you (and your rep) a lot of time and energy, and make the process shorter and less stressful for you.
- During showings, your list can help prevent you from falling "in love" with (and, as a result, overpaying for) a home by keeping you focused on your priorities and providing objective criteria against which you can measure each property. Take a copy to each showing and use it as a literal checklist to help you remember and distinguish between properties.
- If you feel your home search has gotten off track (e.g. it's taking too long or the homes you're looking at are out of your price range), your "needs vs. wants" list can help you correct your course. You may simply need it to remind you of your home-buying goals, or you may need to reassess and revise your list.
- After signing a purchase agreement, it's not uncommon to get cold feet. Reviewing your "needs vs. wants" list can be helpful here too. Compare the property you've chosen with the list you've made – if this home satisfies all or most of your criteria, and if any compromises you made still make sense, you'll no doubt find yourself reassured in your decision.