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3 Steps To Building A Perfect Must-Haves List

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Since homes are among the most significant purchases most people will make, it's natural to be wary of making a poor choice. Creating a list of "must-haves" is one way to help focus your decision-making process.

Unfortunately, these lists can also lead to a more rigid purchasing process and may even cause you to overlook a potentially great house. If you want to get a great home while also staying flexible, it's essential to understand how to make this planning tool work for you instead of the other way around. These three steps will help you on your way.

Step 1: Build A Realistic List

When creating a list of must-haves, start by listing out everything you want in a home and believe you can realistically afford. Once you've completed this list, it's time to start paring it down. Go through each item and decide if you can live without it. For example, are there particular features you might be willing to give up if a truly excellent deal came along?

Take any items you've ruled out and move them into a separate list of high-priority but non-essential features. This secondary list can still be a part of your decision-making process, but you shouldn't use it to rule out any homes. Instead, keep these items in mind if you're trying to make a tough choice between two or three houses that all seem equally attractive.

Step 2: Narrow Your Focus By Assessing the Market

Now it's time to make some hard choices. Start evaluating homes on your local market with your current must-haves list in hand and a keen eye on your budget. Your goal at this stage is to determine if your list is realistic for the amount you're willing to spend. Can you find multiple homes on the market that meet most or all of the items on your list? Do some features seem consistently out of reach?

If you find that homes that meet your requirements are too pricy, it's time to narrow your list further. Consider reducing your square footage requirement or moving some amenities to your non-essentials list. You may want to repeat this process a few times to help focus on your most critical needs.

Step 3: Work With a Real Estate Agent

Once you've got your final list, you can start working with a reliable real estate agent to find homes that will fit your needs and budget. If you've narrowed your list sufficiently, then a skilled agent should be able to locate excellent options for you quickly. By taking the time to build and refine your list, you'll help the entire house hunting and purchasing process proceed much more rapidly and enjoyably. Contact an agent for more information regarding homes for sale