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How to Prioritize Your Wish List When You're House Hunting

April 12, 2021

How to Prioritize Your Wish List When You're House Hunting

Not all homes are created equal — at least, not when it comes to you and your family. From the school district to the acreage to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, there are bound to be many items that are important to you. House hunting is exciting, but it can be daunting to wade through all the options out there and find your dream home. As you begin your search, you'll soon realize that you may have to settle for less than perfection. That's where a wish list comes in handy.

A wish list helps you narrow your search and keeps you on track so you can find homes that include the characteristics that are important to your family. Whether you're buying a new home or building a house from scratch, it's important to focus on your priorities. Here's how to create your house hunting must-haves checklist so you can find the home of your dreams.

1. Get Organized

Searching for a new home is a thrilling process. You get to imagine a new life in a new place with new possibilities. But it can also be quite stressful. Depending on where you live, there are bound to be tons of options out there. A home buying wish list helps you organize your thoughts so you know what's really important.

Your wish list could be as scientific as a spreadsheet or as casual as a napkin with some ideas jotted down. First, have an honest conversation with your family. Then, make a list of everything you want, big or small. 

2. Break Down Your Must-Haves

While it would be nice to find a home that meets every criterion on your list, that's not realistic. With each must-have on your wish list, ask yourself, "Am I willing to compromise on this?" Not every item is going to be absolutely needed. 

It may be helpful to break down your desires into three columns:

  • Top priorities: Features you can't do without. 
  • Wants: Amenities that aren't must-haves, but they definitely factor into your decision-making process. 
  • Wishes: Things that will help you choose if you're weighing between a couple of options.

This list will ensure you don't waste time looking at homes that don't meet your family's requirements.

3. Be Reasonable With Your Top Priorities

Dividing up your wish list into top priorities, wants and wishes will help you find a home that works for what you need right now. Your top priorities should be those items you're not willing to compromise on. Then, narrow your top priorities down to three to five features that you can't do without. You may not get everything you want or wish for, but you should find just what you need. 

4. Focus on Factors That Can't Easily Change

How do you know what to include on your top priorities list? What features can be delegated to wants or wishes? Your top requirements should focus on those aspects of the home or property that can't easily be changed. The longer you live in your home, the more it transforms into exactly what you want. Over the years, you'll be able to change out flooring, tear down walls to create an open floor plan or even add an additional room if you're feeling ambitious. 

Other characteristics are more difficult to change, no matter how long you live there, including:

  • Square footage
  • Size of the backyard
  • Solid foundation
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Storage space
5. Consider Location

Theoretically, you could tear down the house that's currently on the property and build your dream home from scratch. However, there is one wrench in the plan that you need to consider — you cannot change your home's location. This is why location ends up being on the top of almost everyone's top priority list. Location means different things to different people. It could be:

  • A neighborhood you've always wanted to live in
  • A particular school district you want for your kids
  • An easy commute from your work
  • A good crime and safety record
  • Near parks or open land
  • Dog-friendly with lots of sidewalks
  • Easy access to the freeway
6. Remember Your Price Range

You may find the perfect home that meets every want, wish and desire on your checklist, but if you can't afford it, then it's a no-go. Price is the ultimate deal-breaker. Whether you've used an online calculator to figure out your home budget or you've gotten preapproved for a home loan, you probably have a decent idea of what you can afford. If your budget caps at $250,000, there's no point touring million-dollar homes. 

7. Talk to a House Hunting Professional

Once you've got your checklist organized, you can use these priorities to set clear parameters with your real estate agent or home builder. Your house hunting checklist will ensure you won't waste time touring homes that are bound to come up short. You can then use your criteria to narrow your options and find the home you've always wanted.

Simplify the House Hunting Process With SK Builders

Now that you have your list of must-haves, let the team at SK Builders make the house-hunting process as easy as possible. When you build your own home, you get to choose those features that are truly important to you. We have many communities and homes available in upstate South Carolina. After you choose from our wide selection of floor plans, we can customize your design to meet your family's needs.

Our partnership with McAlister Realty lets you get the best of both worlds. If you want to purchase an inventory home, feel free to browse our listings. 

As a family-owned business, we truly care about your wants and desires. We want to help you navigate your house hunting journey so you find a place you can truly call home. Contact us online today with your wish list in hand. You can also reach us by phone at 864-292-0400.