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Deciding on your home: Assessing needs vs. wants

If you’re like most people, buying a home will be the single largest financial transaction of your lifetime, so it only makes sense to give it the attention it deserves. As a homebuyer, there are a lot of options. House or condo? New or resale? Urban or suburban? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. To avoid this, it helps to come up with a home-buying needs and wants list.
A home-buying needs and wants list helps you save time and avoid heartbreak. By coming up with a list, you’ll save time by only looking at properties that suit your family’s needs. You’ll also avoid heartbreak by only viewing properties in your budget.


Coming up with your list of needs vs. wants

If you’re buying a home for the first time, coming up with a list of needs vs. wants can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Your existing place is a good place to start. Jot down on a pad of paper what you like and dislike about your current home (you’re moving for a reason). For example, you may dislike that your kitchen is cramped, but you may like being a 20 minute walk to work.
Use this list to come up with your list of home-buying needs and wants. Examples of needs and wants include a number of bedrooms and bathrooms, safe neighbourhood, good schools, near transit and parking. In one column of your list you can have your needs and in the other you can your wants. Prioritize your list and come up with a top five or top 10 list.
Here is a sample list of needs and wants to help get you started:

Needs Wants
1. Three bedrooms 1. Jacuzzi
2. Two bathrooms 2. Deck
3. Safe neighbourhood 3. Remodelled kitchen
4. Good schools 4. Newly renovated bathroom
5. Garage for storage 5. Hardwood floors

With your list in hand, work with a real estate agent to look at properties in neighbourhoods that suit your needs and wants. Be prepared to make tradeoffs. You might not be able to afford a home with everything you want right away, but if it has most of the things on your needs list, it’s probably worth considering.
To learn more about our mortgage options or to speak with a Mortgage Advisor, visit Meridiancu.ca/mortgages