House-Hunting Needs and Wants

Photo by <a href="">Glenn Carstens-Peters</a> on <a href="

Finding the right home can mean separating what you need from what you want. Every homebuyer has different wants and needs. To ensure a realtor is showing you listings suited to you and your family start the home buying search with a list of needs and wants.

Needs: A need is something you must have when purchasing a home. Common needs that homebuyers have when purchasing a house are:


The first item on your Needs list should be your budget. You need the home to be within your price range, or else you will not purchase it. If you're serious about buying a home then you should have already gotten a pre-approval for a mortgage from a lender. Focus on that number when beginning your search for a home.


A need for many homebuyers is their location. Consider commute times - what is your limit for how long it takes you to get to work? One or two hours? Can you realistically commit to driving two to four hours a day to your job? If a long commute is unrealistic for your life, then location is a need for you. As you look at potential homes, factor in how long your commute will be to and from work. If you have children, you may be set on living within a certain school district. If you are living in a city area, you may worry about the safety of the neighborhood and the crime factor.


Determine how much space you will need in a home. Factor in your current family size and any potential future family - make sure to purchase a place that has the right amount of space for you. Think about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need as well as storage and the size of yard based on your family size (including pets). While there are ways to change homes to match your space needs you know best how you will utilize the space - if a home will not work for your furniture, lifestyle, or family, you will need to keep searching.

Wants: A want is something that you desire the home to have but the lack of the amenity or aesthetic would not necessarily deter you from purchasing the home if it matches your needs as changes and additions can be made after you purchase the home.


Some of these things may be on your Needs list but, once you start looking at the homes in your budget, you may find the below amenities belong on your Wants list. If a home checks off your Needs list, you could budget to add the Wants in the future.

  • Pool and/or Hot Tub
  • Deck/Patio
  • Fireplace
  • Landscaping
  • Brand new systems and appliances


Like Amenities, when looking at homes, do not let the aesthetics of the home outweigh your actual needs. You should never pass up a home simply because the aesthetics are not exactly what you want. You can change and update almost any part of the home including:

  • Paint Color
  • Molding
  • Carpet
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Fireplace
  • Open Floor Plan
  • Remodeled Kitchen or Bathroom
  • Style of Appliances

It is important to remember that no home will be perfect, and you will not get everything you want. Once you understand the difference and adjust expectations, you will open your options while making your home shopping experience more productive.