Knowing When You’ve Found Your (Almost) Dream Home

If you’ve been searching for your dream home and you’re about to give up finding what you want, where you want it, at a price that is in your budget (because we can’t all live in mansions, right?) we get it. We work closely with so many wonderful Real Estate Agents that we hear your stories of the “almost perfect” and the “almost affordable” houses and we thought maybe we could put all the stories into one bit of helpful advice for you.

We hope you really do find your dream home, the one that you’ve had pinned to your vision board for years. But just in case you are finding some compromises in order, here’s how you can approach getting the CLOSEST to perfect that’s out there for you.

Start by deciding what you won’t live with and what you cannot live without.

Location: Does the neighborhood have to be walkable? What about schools? How important is it to be on a quiet street, or with easy access to the interstate?

Style: Are cottages an absolute no-go? What about condos? If you’re looking for a place where you can grow older with ease and grace you may want to disqualify anything with steep steps. If you’re raising little ones you may want to insist on basement or attic space that is finished, or could be finished, for a playroom.

Structure and Fixtures: While most fixtures can be updated or added, you want to decide what you are and aren’t willing to replace or update before you can enjoy your home. Pay attention to things like heating and cooling, water heater(s), the roof, and the windows.

Yard and Garden Area: Is there a minimum outdoor area you need to be happy in your home? Or a maximum size you’re willing to care for? Is a sunny spot for vegetables and flowers a must? Or perhaps a shady spot where you can put your hammock or lawn chair?

Rooms and Layout: Perhaps the most important component, and the one most people focus on. Think about how much time you spend in different activities now, and where you usually enjoy them. Is part of your goal in moving to change your lifestyle? Maybe having space for family meals in the dining room rather than at the bar, or taking your coffee in a three-seasons room instead in the dark den. What activities are most important to you? How is that likely to change over the next five to seven years?

Once you have some ideas of your “wills” and “won’ts” for each of those areas you can turn your attention to establishing your priorities for improvements. Does the master bath need to be big enough to add a garden or jetted tub? If the back yard isn’t fenced, will it need to be someday? What about room additions, or putting in landscaping and a deck?

Of course you want to make this a wise financial decision, but it’s a home first and an investment second. So start by making sure it fits the priorities of how you want to live, then consider your budget and possible appreciation in value.

Once you have this checklist, be sure you communicate it clearly to your Real Estate Agent. Believe us, you’ll become their perfect client when they know exactly what your big “Nos”and “Yeses” are going to be. Plus, going through this process, you may find that the house that was almost perfect is a lot closer to your dream home than you originally thought. And when you find it we’re here to help you buy it.

Photo: Flickr/Mark Moz