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Girl with Horse

Step 1: Determining your Wants & Needs

My buying clients often express surprise at how much what they are looking for in a home evolves as we explore properties together. 


Even so, it's good to start with an idea of what you want and then you can edit it as we go along.


Here are some questions designed to spark the conversations that will clarify what kind of home will serve you best:

  1. Bedrooms, how many do you need? What about 5 years from now? How do you feel about them being split between 2 or more floors? 1 1'2 storey homes often have the bedrooms divided between the 2 floors. Would you be willing to have a member of the family sleeping on a separate floor? What about in a basement bedroom?

  2. What square footage would be ideal? What would be the minimum?

  3.  What style of home lends itself best to your needs? If you are trying to minimize stairs, think bungalow. If stairs aren't an issue but you are tall, the 2nd floor of most 1 1/2 storey homes will feel cramped to you.

  4. How many full bathrooms do you need? How important is a main level bathroom when there is more than one floor? Is it important to have a master bedroom ensuite?

  5. Do you want a flexible dining area that can accommodate bigger groups on occasion or is a modest eat-in kitchen fine?

  6. What matters to you most in a kitchen?

  7. Do you prefer an open layout or clearly defined spaces?

  8. How big a fan are you of character features like hardwood floors?

  9. Would you put up with hot water heating (and therefore no central air) if the house checked off all of your other boxes.

  10. In addition to the living room, what other communal spaces do you need and what kind of separation – if any – do you need between them? Rec room or family room for teenagers? Playroom for younger children?

  11. Do you want or need the extra living space that a finished basement provides? Would it be good enough that a basement CAN be finished (good head room, dry, etc..)? Or is the basement of no concern except that it is dry and structurally sound?

  12. Will you be wanting a home office? Where is the ideal location for that? What about special hobbies that might need their own space?

  13. What are looking for in terms of the lot? What do you want or need in terms of a backyard space?

  14. Do you need a garage? If you found a home that didn’t have one but had the space to build one, would you consider it?

  15. What would you be willing to take on and what wouldn’t you in terms of upgrades and renovations? What sorts of renovations would you have to pay someone else to complete and which could you realistically undertake on your own? What resources do you have access to? Would you be willing to purchase a home that needed some improvements if you could get them done right away and rolled into the mortgage as a mortgage-plus-improvements? The most common of these are new shingles, knob and tube removal and new windows.

  16. What are your dealbreakers - the things you couldn't with or without?

  17. What are the neighborhoods in which you would like to live? Are there any you wouldn't consider?

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