What do You Want & Need in a Home?

Finding a new home can be exciting.  But deciding what you truly want and need – and can afford – can be challenging.  Making these decisions begins with setting priorities among many different preferences. 

Most homebuyers invariably face trade-offs. Your buyer’s representative can play a key role in helping you sort out your options. He or she can also offer important insights specific to your local market.

Some Considerations

Basic Home Features

  • Do you prefer a single-family detached home, townhome, condominium, or other type of property?
  • Desired number of bedrooms and baths
  • Preferences regarding kitchen, dining, family rooms, etc. and preferred home layout
  • High-priority home features, such as kitchen appliances, fireplace, etc.
  • Other types of rooms needed (e.g., a home office or a hobby space)
  • Storage spaces (closets, outdoor shed, etc.)
  • Need for a garage or parking space, and if so, for how many cars?

Other Home Preferences

  • Ranch, two story, split level, etc.
  • Age and style of home (Victorian, bungalow, modern, etc.)
  • How important is energy efficiency or other green home features?

Neighborhood & Location

  • Commuting considerations (to work, shopping, etc.)
  • Proximity to desirable features (such as the lake, town, school, hospital, etc.)
  • Views – how important is to find your ideal view (overlooking the lake for example) or avoiding a bad one (a busy highway)?

Lot Characteristics

  • Size and shape, including back, front and side yards
  • Landscaping considerations – the need for open play areas, privacy, patio space, decking, etc.
  • Home orientation – is it important for your home to face a particular direction?
  • Do you want or need a lakefront lot or a lake view lot?

Life at Home

  • If you’ll be sharing your home with children, pets, live-in parents or others, how does this impact your housing preferences? Both now, and in the future? (For example, pets may require a fenced-in yard; older parents may dictate one-floor living.)
  • Proximity to neighbors

Related Costs

  • Homeowner association and/or dock association fees?
  • Property Taxes


  • How much do you want to invest in a home beyond the purchase price, either financially or in terms of sweat equity, if you can’t find exactly what you want?
  • Are you willing to consider other neighborhoods that provide better affordability?


  • How long do you plan to own this home? How does this impact the type of home you will buy, how much you’ll spend, and your choice of location?