Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


Figuring Out What You Want to Buy

Posted in What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on October 3, 2006

One of the big challenges faced by most buyers, new and experienced, is figuring out what they want in a home. Price will determine, or set the limits, on a number of things, but it is helpful to have a idea of what things are important, or necessary, when searching for a new home. NOTE: It is critical to have a discussion with a mortgage officer early on in the process so you will know what you can really afford, so that you can focus on your search effectively and not waste time looking at things that do not fit your budget, but also don’t miss out on opportunities that are suitable (see posts under Mortgage Information).

But at the same time, not being sure, having little clue, or experiencing disagreements between yourself and the person you are buying with, if applicable, are VERY common. More times than not, I find buyers have a general idea, perhaps with some more specific wants and needs, but this often evolves during the searching process. As a FTHB it is perhaps more difficult since you do not have much experience, except perhaps living in your parents’ home (currently or in the past) and being a renter (possibly for an extended time). Here are some ideas to help you:

1. Research homes online so you can develop a sense of what types of homes there are in your area of interest, the prices, the number of rooms, amenities, etc.

2. Visit open houses in your price range in the areas that interest you – you will learn a lot about what your money can buy, as well as gain an understanding of the things that matter to you in a home, or don’t. (Note: If you have already selected a Realtor to help you, PLEASE make sure you let the agents at the Open Houses know and provide them either with the name or your agent’s business card. This will keep things from becoming confusing for them. If you HAVE NOT selected an agent, you will meet some at the Open Houses and may find the one who fits your style and personality to help in the process).

3. Keep in mind there are ALWAYS tradeoffs (unless you have the funds to buy exactly what you want and where you want it). Prioritize the things that matter most and decide what you can give up (this might change as you see more homes). I have had people insist on having a single family home with 2 stories and buying an attached condo on one floor!

4. Use my “What’s Important to You Checklist” on my VIP Buyer page of my website (you can link to the PDF then download it), to define the things that are important, in a structured way. This will help keep you focused – I like to have a copy of this from my clients in addition to having a detailed conversation regarding what they want.

5. Consider your current lifestyle and what you like or don’t like about it. What things would you like to have? How do you like to entertain and how often? Do you like having company and if so how many and when? Is being near work important? Public transportation? Greespace/parks? Shopping and amenities? You get the idea.

 Good luck and feel free to let me know if I can help.

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5 Responses to 'Figuring Out What You Want to Buy'

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  1. […] Decide on Your Needs – What type of property are you looking for? Where do you want to live? What amenities do you need, and how much space (bedrooms, bathrooms)? And how much are you going to spend? Your initial thoughts will likely change over time as you look at properties. And it’s quite alright to give up some things if you can’t find “exactly” what you want. […]


  2. […] If you have created a list of things that are most important, as was suggested in a previous post, you should use that to help you evaluate each house.  Does it have most of the things you want? Are there key items lacking? And, if so, could they be added or not? If the overall configuration of the home pleasing or does it make you uncomfortable? Are the things that need work something you are willing to take on, or pay someone to do, or not? What is the kitchen like (this is the most expensive thing to update or remodel) and is it something you are reasonably comfortable with? […]


  3. […] And seeing properties will give you a better idea of what you really want to own. […]


  4. […] If you have created a list of things that are most important, as was suggested in a previous post, you should use that to help you evaluate each house.  […]


  5. […] on Your Needs – What type of property are you looking for? Where do you want to live? What amenities do you need, and how much space (bedrooms, bathrooms)? […]


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