Home-buying wish list: the needs, the wants and the cravings

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

YOUR HOME-BUYING WISH LIST: What are you craving in your new home?

When I was pregnant with my girls (please bear with me, this is not a post about pregnancy, I promise) I craved milk. Lots of it. I drank half a gallon - at least - every day. As a matter of fact I frequently woke up in the middle of the night because I needed to drink a glass of milk. I just had to and as it goes with cravings I wasn't satisfied until I had some. On the other end of the spectrum I could not stand eggs. Everything about them bothered me, the sight, the smell, the taste. There were no eggs in my fridge for a good 10 months, both times.

Where am I going with this? It's simple really. Some cravings are temporary. Cravings change. When it comes to buying a house we all have a wish-list and a good understanding about our wants and needs (at least we should). The key - besides a realistic budget - is to understand what are truly must haves, just would-be-nice and which ones of these could be just temporary cravings and not necessarily realistic wishes for the long haul!?
home buying wishlist
You may be longing for this big back yard but if you are working 60 hours a week who will be taking care of it? You may really be craving for the tranquility and serenity of the country but if you work downtown how much are you going to love your commute? Or how about that big 5 bedroom house even though you really only need 2? Will your craving change once you realize how much more cleaning there is to do and how much it costs to heat and cool all those extra rooms you are rarely or never using?

On the other hand you may be craving just your very own place. Finally, to be the king or queen of your castle, any small place would do and all you really need is a 1 bedroom condo. But what if you discover that living alone is really not your thing and you would really enjoy a roommate? How about your parents? Are they elderly and a multi-generational household may be in your future?

Buying a home is a huge decision - that is no secret. What you may not be thinking about though is what your life may look like in the next few years. But you should - circumstances change, cravings are temporary. If you are on your own right now consider that you may want a home to grow into. If you have kids think about how soon they'll be leaving the nest. If you love the 'burbs or country think about your commute and proximity to shopping & restaurants and if you love the city think about how much that lifestyle will still fit when you start a family.

Sure, you can always trade up or scale down and it's something most of us are facing sooner or later. However, with a slow and steady Real Estate appreciation (which is hopefully the path will be taking) it will take awhile to have enough equity to cover closing costs.

So, when you are embarking on your home-buying journey take a close look at your wish-list and your needs and wants and identify the cravings - those may be short-lived or at odds with your needs and lifestyle.

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860


Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


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 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Leslie G. Rojohn
MoonDancer Realty - Sylva, NC
GRI, ABR ~ MoonDancer Realty

Good thoughts.  Long range planning for the biggest purchase your likely to make, makes sense.

Jan 28, 2012 06:10 AM #1
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Andrea, before my husband and I bought our current home (actually, we had it built). We made a wish list. We didn't get everything we wanted but we sure came darn close. This is an exercise every buyer should do. We even included our kids.

Jan 28, 2012 06:12 AM #2
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Terrific points for home buyers Andrea.  Wants vs needs, vs future needs.  Today's home buyer needs to think of these things and have a good understanding before hitting the road to look for homes.  So many buyers want it all right now and don't have the budget to support it.  

Jan 28, 2012 09:35 AM #3
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Thanks Leslie - a lot of times it is about the here and now but circumstances, priorities can change quickly and it's a good idea to think ahead a bit.

Hi Tammi: Compromise is a big part of every wish list - the must-haves are just that but the wants should be open to compromise. We sat down with our girls and asked them what they would like in our next home - we are def. going to try to fulfill some of them.

Thank you Brenda: We are not going to make 100K in equity in 6 months or so - those times are gone and wont return (hopefully) - slow & steady wins the race! Real Estate is long term and I believe it's important to look beyond today's needs and wants. All within reason - budget - of course!

Jan 28, 2012 12:48 PM #4
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Good morning Andrea,

This can be the hardest thing to do, getting the buyer to pare down their wish list to actual "best fit" items and not "want".  They have to be realistic about their lifestyle and needs, or they will be very disappointed with the home they buy when it doesn't match their reality.

Great post!

Jan 29, 2012 01:47 AM #5
Jeanean Gendron
The Address Realty - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties

Andrea, this is the most critical thing we do for our clients when helping them to buy. That list of critical needs will be the needs analaysis by which decisions can be made and trade offs accompllished. It is an important list and you are so smart to help your clients with that upfront objective needs analysis. It makes the whole process go smoothly. Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. I am finally back to commenting after three nights of passing on it. Very unusual for me. Have a great evening and thanks for being my friend!

Jan 29, 2012 09:15 AM #6
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Lisa: It sure can - sometimes it takes a bit of looking around to understand what a realistic wish-list is but I always enjoy being part of the planning and refining process!

Hi Jeanean: I'm glad you could visit today! I put great emphasis on the difference between needs and would-be-nice, it's important to understand where compromises can be made if necessary. The clearer the picture in the beginning the more refined the search early on. Of course some needs and wants don't become clear until we are out hunting but that's just another part of the process. I love it when my intuition is spot on!

Jan 29, 2012 01:50 PM #7
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Andrea Bedard

M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond
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