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Do you have a dream home? Most of us probably have an idea of what we would like to have in our ideal home, and maybe you are already living in yours. If you are not, however, here are some pointers that will help you through the frustrating, stressful and hopefully ultimately successful search for your dream home. While there are many different aspects to the search for a home, the goal of this article is to help you figure out what you really want and then how to decide whether or not a home measures up to it. If you are not a person who likes making lists, you might not like our suggestions, but if you really want to land your dream home, you should give it a chance.

What can you not do without?

So, first let us make a list of things that you really can’t do without. These are items that if they were missing, the deal is off. Make sure that you take the time to think about all of these items, because adding something to this list that isn’t crucial for feeling happy in your home could muddy the waters when you are shopping around for homes. The items on this list should be ones that you wouldn’t even look at a house without.

It could be that you want your children to go to a certain school district. This limits the geographical area where you would look at homes. Maybe you want to be within a certain distance from a grocery store. Maybe there has to be a basement or a second floor. Whatever your absolute needs are, write them down. This will then be the first check that you run listings against. If a listing does not meet the criteria on your list, don’t even bother, it is not going to be your dream home.

What do you not want?

These will also be critical for your choices. These are what you would call deal breakers, and if you notice that a property has these, you wouldn’t even consider it. Maybe it is how close it is to an industrial park or airport with all the noise and pollution that you get with it. It could be that it has solar panels on the roof. Whatever you find to be too much for you to want to live in that home, and that you aren’t willing to invest the money and time into fixing should go on this list.

What would you like but can live without?

Your third list is going to be a little longer. These are nice things that you really would like to have in your home, but if they are missing, you could still consider it as your dream home. As you shop around for listings and tour homes, put checkmarks next to each item that is available, giving you a good idea of how many of your wants are satisfied. Of course, some of your items will be more important than others, so having a grade system will let you decide on what is important and what is not.

 

Spreadsheets

Now that you have all this information, it’s time to make it useful. If you have all your information compiled in a spreadsheet, you will be amazed at how quickly you can pick what listings are worth a second look and which ones are not. Of course, some of your boxes won’t get ticked until you take a tour of the property, but you should be able to weed out all the homes that aren’t going to be your dream home as well as the ones that have a high likelihood to be it. While this method might seem to involve a lot of work and taking notes, remember that this is going to be your home for years to come, and likely one of the biggest investments you will make in your life. While you could go into the process with the same amount of planning as you would pick what shirt to wear in the morning, but this is something that will have a major effect on your life. Spending the time to prepare for your home purchase is going to help you make a choice you will be happy that you made.

 

How much are you willing to spend?

There is one last thing to keep in mind, and that is how much money you are willing to spend on your dream home. If you want to have a very good idea as to what your maximum buying price will be, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be very helpful. This way you will be aware of how much you will be able to have on hand. It is also something that will help you in negotiations in two different ways.

If there is a bidding war, you will know when it is time to pull out. Even though you might think that this property is your dream house, being disappointed with how much you had to spend for it is going to throw a shadow over the joy you will feel at getting it. There will be other opportunities, so no reason to overpay for this one.

The other reason why being pre-approved for a mortgage is good is that the seller will be reassured that the closing can be quicker and have less unexpected hurdles. For some sellers, knowing that you are ready to put the money on the table quickly is going to be very positive. For someone desperate to make a sale, it could even affect the price in your favor.

A dream home come true

Now you are ready to go out and find that home of your dreams. Remember, you worked hard to get everything sorted out beforehand. It is easy to get carried away, frustrated or confused throughout the process, but you will always find that cooler heads prevail. Don’t rush into a decision that doesn’t meet all your criteria. Even if the home meets all of your criteria except for one, remember, these are the things that you can’t live without that you thought deeply about. Settling for something less than that is going to keep nagging at you, making your home less of a dream home and more of a compromise home.