6 Steps For Prioritizing What You Need In A Home

Whether you’re looking to buy or rent your ideal home, it’s easy to get caught up in extras like granite counters, hardwood floors, or a massive backyard deck. But when house hunting, it’s important to first focus on finding a home that meets your most important needs. Prioritizing what you absolutely must have in a place to live will make the search process far less stressful and result in finding a home you truly love and can afford. Here are six steps to help determine your priorities for a new home:

1. Make A Needs List

Sit down and create a list of what your essential needs are in a home. Think about things like:

  • Number of bedrooms/bathrooms – Do you need space for kids, pets, roommates, or guests?
  • Location – How important is convenience to work, schools, gyms, or entertainment? What type of neighborhood suits your lifestyle?
  • Storage space – Do you require room for lots of belongings, equipment, seasonal decor, papers, or collections?
  • Energy efficiency – If utility costs are a concern, focus on a place with good insulation, energy-efficient windows, heating, lighting, etc.
  • Accessibility – For families with seniors or those with disabilities, a single-level home without lots of steps could be most important.
  • Parking – Do you need a big garage, carport, or lots of street parking for your vehicles?

Review your list and rank each need in order of importance from 1 to 5, with 1 being something you absolutely must have and 5 being more of a preference. This helps clarify what level of priority each need should receive when searching for Texas homes for rent or any other location.

2. Establish Your Must-Haves

Now take the top 2-3 items you ranked as 1’s or 2’s and determine these are your absolute must-haves in a new home. These are features you are unwilling to compromise on. For most, must-haves often include things like a minimum number of bedrooms, a garage, proximity to work, or a safe neighborhood. Be realistic about your must-haves though – the longer and more demanding your list, the harder finding the perfect place may be.

3. Would Like To Have

The items you ranked as 3’s are your “would like to have” – features that would be nice in a new home but are not deal breakers if missing. Things like a big kitchen for cooking, an extra bathroom, or a big yard might fall into this category. These features can provide negotiating room if needed. You can likely be flexible if other key needs and priorities are met.

4. Compare Your Options

Once you know your 1 or 2 top must-have priorities plus a few would like to have, you can start searching for rental homes or properties for sale that meet these core needs. Be open to options that differ in other areas. You may find a place that meets all your important needs at a price you can afford if you remain flexible in other ways. No place will match your want list perfectly.

5. See Past The Cosmetics

When viewing homes, look past cosmetic issues like ugly paint colors, outdated fixtures, or minor repairs. Focus on whether the important features you prioritized like square footage, storage space, yard size, location, accessibility, parking, etc. meet your needs. Cosmetic flaws can often be inexpensively remedied once you have the keys. But homes lacking in your key priorities will likely never suit you well or require expensive changes to make workable.

6. Make A Final Needs Assessment

As you get closer to a decision, take one more look at your must-have needs and would like to have to ensure the place you choose accommodates them. Also, determine if any new needs have emerged that require consideration. It’s possible for needs to evolve during your search process. Make a list of how each potential home you’re interested in meets or fails to meet your core list of priorities. This helps provide clarity and, guidance when it comes time to make an offer on a rental or sale property.