When you’re shopping for a new home, it’s a good idea to create a checklist of what you want and what you need. It keeps you on track to ultimately find the property that best fits your requirements — and those of your family.
However, there’s a big difference between want and need that is important to understand when house hunting. A ‘need’ refers to a feature that is an absolute must in a new home. A ‘want’, by contrast, is a ‘nice-to-have’.
Some home buyers make the mistake of choosing a ‘want’ at the expense of a ‘need’.
For example, say you ‘need’ four bedrooms in your new home but ‘want’ a golf course located nearby. It can be tempting to fall in love with a property that has a beautiful golf course just a couple of blocks away, even if it has only three bedrooms. You may find yourself signing the offer while dreaming of Saturday morning tee-offs, only to awake to the realization months later that the lack of an extra bedroom has become a serious inconvenience to you and your family.
Of course, it is possible to get most, if not all, of what you need and want in a new home. But if it comes down to a choice, it’s usually a good idea not to sacrifice something you really need in order to get something you want.
So, when you’re making your house hunting checklist, be clear about what is a need-to-have and what is a nice-to-have.
And don’t forget that some features you want — like a wrap-around backyard deck, for example — can potentially be added to your new home later.
Does your home have a lot of personality?
There’s nothing wrong with that.
In fact, you may have pictures on the fireplace mantle showcasing happy family memories over the years… or trophies and other awards in the kids’ bedrooms that represent achievements that make you proud… or a fridge door covered with notes, a calendar and other items that make it a de facto family bulletin board!
These are all things that help make a house truly a place to call “home”.
But when it comes time to sell, all that personality can work against you. When buyers view your property, they want to visualize themselves living there, not you and your family.
Have you ever noticed how model homes are often furnished and decorated? All the rooms look beautiful and enticing. They draw you in. Why? Because, although all the rooms in the model home look great, they’re also impersonal. There’s no uncomfortable sense that you’re in a stranger’s home. You can easily see yourself living there.
That’s exactly what you should strive for when preparing your house for sale.
You can’t get rid of every personal item. That would be impractical. But there’s a lot you can do to depersonalize your home. For example, you can:
- Take down family pictures
- Clear items from the fridge door
- Store trophies in a box
- Remove personal knick knacks and similar items
- Keep only general titles on a bookshelf and store the rest.
The more easily buyers can see themselves living in your home, the more likely they are to become interested in it and make an offer.