must haves for your homeLast week I took some much needed time off for a little “R & R”. It never fails that when you try to sneak away for a few days, you inevitably get a few unwanted surprises.

My big surprise was that the condo I was staying in at the beach had no (functioning) internet.  As it turned out, the modem had gone out.

The owner of the condo got right on the problem, but it took the internet provider until Thursday night just before 7:00 PM to get over there and plug in a new modem.  This 5 minute job took almost an entire week.  Talk about terrible customer service!  At any rate, that was why I was MIA last week.


Coming Up Today

I am really happy to have another guest post from Satinder Haer of Zillow. Today's article is all about the 3 steps to determining your “must haves” in your new home.

Satinder did a guest article for me a few weeks ago that folks loved so I am happy to have her back again today.  If you missed that post you can read it by clicking here.  I don't have to tell you that Zillow is a great resource for anyone in real estate.

Determining your “must haves” in a home is an important process not only for homeowners but for real estate investors as well.  For many investors that will be homes with 3 bedrooms and two baths. It could be something entirely different for someone else.  Each person’s investing criteria is unique to them so there is no right or wrong answer.  However as investors we need to be clear on what our end buyers “must haves” are if we want to make smart investing decisions.

My thanks once again to Satinder Haer for this guest post.


Determining Your “Must Haves” in a Home 

Buying a home is one of the most exciting decision in people’s lives. The options are nearly endless—they can choose from different neighborhoods, styles of homes and interior features. With so many options available, it can be difficult to prioritize your list of must-have features during the house-hunting process. Use these steps to help you document your must-haves before searching for your dream home.


1. Wants

Start by compiling a list of everything your dream home would entail. Be mindful of realistic budgetary and physicalKitchen limitations. Write down anything you’ve ever felt was a missing or needed improvement in your previous homes. If you get stuck, ask these questions:

  • Think about your ideal location: suburban, rural or urban? Specific neighborhoods?
  • Consider the structure and style of your home—single or two-story? Mid-century modern or colonial?
  • What does your dream kitchen include? An island? Two sinks? Updated appliances? Marble counter tops?
  • Which interior features please you most? Hardwood floors? Expansive windows? Air conditioning?
  • What kind of exterior features are important to you? A backyard patio, deck or front porch? An outdoor fire pit or kitchen?

Once you’ve compiled your list, rank the items in order of priority. Envision the features that would be most important to you if you could only pick three or four.



fenceWhile imagining your dream home is entertaining, it’s equally important to consider your practical needs. Start a separate list for all essential things. Consider these questions.

  • How many bedrooms meet your minimum needs? Do you frequently have guests?
  • Which rooms are frequented most? Those rooms might deserve the most consideration.
  • Do you need any special features for your pets?
  • How many parking spots are crucial? Do they have to be in a garage?
  • Where are three to six neighborhoods that would work? Are there suitable schools nearby?

Once you have both of your lists side by side, see which of your “wants” could also be compatible with your actual needs. Those items should make it onto your final must-have list. Prioritize the remaining items on your list of needs, and your highly-ranked items from the wants list.



Once you’ve completed these two steps, you should have a fairly complete list. Next, find an agent and share the fountainitems from your list with them; this information will really help direct your search. Your list is still likely to undergo some modifications as you visit available homes on the market and the value of the features on your list. Reflect on the features that draw your attention during the first few open houses and consider list updates.

  • Did you realize anything important missing from your list?
  • Do any of the items on your list not matter as much as you initially thought?
  • Are any of the items on your list not worth the market value in the available homes on the market?

After some modifications, your list should be pretty fine-tuned. It still might take several days or months for the right home to pop on the market, but you’ll be prepared to pounce when it does.

Remember, while finding a home with all of your dream features within budget is possible, it isn’t likely, so remain open minded when shopping. If you find a home that’s close to what you want, but not perfect, develop a plan to renovate the rest. By determining your must-haves ahead of time, you can optimize your search for the greatest chance of finding your dream home.


About Satinder Haer

Satinder Haer writes about real estate, home improvement and interior design for Zillow and other partners.


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