We spent the weekend with a very nice couple, looking at homes that would fit their family of 7. They have special requirements since Grandma lives with them. Since they live about 4 hours away from Tucson and have very active lives with their 4 kids, we have to see as much as we can when they get a chance to come into town.
As we were wrapping up our tour yesterday, the Mom made a comment to us regarding the school districts. She wanted to make sure that her two youngest were able to go to the same school. This was a new revelation. We had everything else on their list plugged into a search portal for them except for the school requirement. How did we miss that? In retrospective, it wasn't brought up by any of us but all is well as it's not a hard requirement to fill.
That got me to thinking about how we as REALTORS® do our discovery beyond the usual "How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need or want?". We all have our methods - a long list of questions that we ask in the initial interview or via emails, listening as we go on tours, and so on. But, trust me when I say this, that it is possible for us to miss something. Yesterday, the Mom said, "Oh, I thought I mentioned that!".
It's easy to get very overwhelmed during your home search. You start out with your list of "gotta haves" and "would like to haves" and we do our best to search for that perfect home. Chances are, we are going to ask you to re-look at those lists and trim it down a little. Realistically, you probably won't get EVERYTHING you want. Being able to re-work the list is a huge step for all of us.
Yesterday's comment made me realize how important it is to have a written down list from my clients. It's something we can go back to and check instead of saying, "Did we mention that?".
My personal list has the following. Everyone is different, of course and certain things may be more important in different areas of the country - like fireplaces and basements.
The basics would include:
* Minimum to maximum price
* Square footage of house (minimum/maximum) and levels - 1 story or more
* Lot size
* Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
* Size of garage - 2, 3 or more car garage
* New build/Newer home or older home
* Preferred location(s) in town (If you are an out of town buyer and haven't been to town yet, knowing where you will be working will help just as much)
* School District/school requirements
* Special needs accessories - handicap converted bathrooms, ramps to the home
Extras/Wanna Haves that aren't deal breakers:
* Workshop in garage/backyard
* Storage for toys like RV's, ATM's (Some HOA's do not allow RV's to be parked in neighborhoods)
* Stainless steel applicances in kitchen
* Style of flooring - hardwood, carpet, tiling, pergo
This list could go on and on and on but these are the basics that I ask a new client. Chances are, and it's happened in the past, that the client will need something that's on my Extra's list. One client needed a pool for his son's therapy.
The point to all of this: Do not hold back on your needs/wants for your new home. We will do our very best to fulfill your wishlist but be prepared for your REALTOR® to ask you to re-hone your list. We do have your best interest at heart and want to help you find that perfect home.
(And, just for the record - fireplaces in the master bedroom seem so romantic and so wonderful but odds are, you'll use it maybe a handful of times, especially in the desert Southwest. I had one and used it a total of one time during the 5 years I owned that home. I always looked at the space where the fireplace was and wondered if I could tear it down and get more storage!)