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Eric Brown, MBA
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Wants vs. Needs – Will I know what I want as a First Time Home Buyer?

I have found the difference between a “looker” and a successful first-time home buyer is as simple as knowing what you WANT in your new house, and what you NEED in that house!

This may sound simple, but having your ability to recognize what is most important to you, and compromise on the rest is vital to being a successful first time home buyer.

The whole situation gets compounded and more complicated when we factor in a spouse / partner who also has their own ideas of what they WANT and NEED in that same house.

You may have already experienced this conflict, but don’t be discouraged, there is hope!

First, your experienced Real Estate Agent should have already asked you to provide to them a “wish list” of your WANTS and your NEEDS. Ideally you were asked to categorize these in to four separate categories: Location; Size; Amenities, and Condition.

Your list, if you are working with a spouse / partner, will have conflicts as to what is a WANT and what is a NEED.

This is actually great, because now you get a chance to prioritize between the two of you the most critical items you both agree on. This will save you a lot of grief and anxiety later when you and your Agent are touring homes. It can get very confusing and overwhelming touring a bunch of homes without a set target of needs.

To help you develop your list of actual NEEDS, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I actually need?
  • How many children do you currently have, and how many are you planning (if any)?
  • How much parking do I need?  Will I need a garage?
  • Will I need a home with an Attic or Basement for extra storage?
  • What type of home (condo, townhome, attached, sfr)?
  • Have I been pre-approved – what can I really afford – what am I willing to pay?
  • Will I need easy access to BART or CalTrain?
  • How close to Work do I need to be?
  • How old can the home be?
  • Does the home need to be new or will newly remodeled be okay?
  • Do I want to grow a garden, or do I want a maintenance free yard?

Be sure to be honest with yourself when you ask these questions! For example, you may say I don’t need to be close to work, 25 miles away is okay – but how does that translate in to commute time during rush hour? Will your commute be a reverse commute? What if you change jobs, will you still want to live there? Be sure to think about these questions, and be 100% honest with yourself!

Unless you were that lucky person who just won last night’s lottery, then you will find being honest about what you actually NEED and what you can live without for the time being, and recognize that it is just a WANT, will make your home buying process a lot less stressful and better ensure success for you and your Agent in locating homes for you to look at which actually meet your NEEDS that you will actually want to purchase.

Best of look looking – please let me know if this article was useful to you.
~ Eric

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2 thoughts on “Wants vs. Needs – Will I know what I want as a First Time Home Buyer?

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