Needs and Wants Checklist: What Makes the “Right” Home?

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For overseas Filipino workers, more than children holding university diplomas or small business investments yielding additional income, it’s the nice, beautiful home that makes all the hard work abroad worth it. It’s the ultimate dream — one that comes with a heavy price tag. Even if you’re financially ready to achieve this dream, you can’t dive in just yet.

One of the things property experts at the recently concluded Lamudi Housing Fair reiterated is the importance of knowing what buyers need and want in a home. A property is one of the biggest investments a person will make. You’re pouring in years’ worth of savings, so you want to land on the perfect home. The right home is one that accommodates your needs and wants. Before you scour listings online or attend open houses, you need to have a checklist.

Why Do You Need a Checklist?

There are a lot of people who don’t list what they are looking for in a home. They rely on their memory when they go to an open house. But here’s where the problem starts: every house visited becomes the dream home. You fall in love with each property because of what you see in front of you rather than your wants and needs. In the end, it’s difficult to narrow down options, as you find yourself in a decision dilemma. This is why a checklist is crucial.

Here are the ways a checklist does wonders in your home buying journey:

  • Efficient search. When you know what you need and want, your property hunt will be more productive. Going on online real estate platforms, you can tinker around the search filters and easily see properties that fit your criteria. Or if you choose to attend the first leg of the Lamudi housing fair in 2020 on May 9-10, happening in Glorietta, you already know what to tell property developers or realtors. As a result, you won’t waste time, effort, and gas money driving up to houses that don’t tick your boxes. 
  • Focused search. A checklist can help you be level headed even when you see pretty interiors and manicured lawns. It keeps you focused on your priorities, making you less likely to splurge. At the same time, you get to be on the same page with your spouse on what they themselves think should be in your home. 
  • Confident search. You’re able to decide fast and with confidence when the right home is already in front of you. When you know what you need and want, you won’t have second thoughts. No delays. No risks of getting your dream home snatched up by other property seekers.

What to List Down

When listing down needs and wants, the main issue is what qualifies as such. You may be tempted to justify everything as a need, even the good-looking stairs or refreshing bedroom colors. The truth is, you can’t find all the nice things in a single home. Compromise is necessary, but more importantly, you have to know when and when not to.

Be honest with your non-negotiables and negotiables. The former refers to home features that you can’t live without, while the latter are the ones that you love, yet won’t necessarily affect your lifestyle if you don’t have them. 

In general, these are the things that should appear in your needs list:

  • Location. It affects your travel time to work, the schools your kids will be enrolled in, and the activities you’ll enjoy, so it’s a must to get the address that fits your lifestyle.
  • House and lot size, and the number of rooms. This can influence the way you use your space. You might not be able to accommodate your young kids’ play needs or your family’s habit of hosting dinners if your house is cramped. 
  • Budget. How much you pay for your home will inevitably change your financial habits, as soon as the monthly mortgage payments come. You don’t want your house to be a money pit, so once you determine your budget, stick to it through and through. Look at properties that suit your financial capacity.

Take a cue from Alex Lorenzo, an OFW, employed as a technician in Hong Kong. He was able to get the right home for his family: a two-bedroom space that allows them to maximize time with each other. Their master bedroom is spacious enough to accommodate their family of five in their kwentuhan and kulitan moments. 

At the same time, their space enables them to do different bonding activities, like doing videoke, playing board games, and watching television. It’s no wonder Lorenzo longs to come home during Christmas. It’s the perfect home sweet home for him.

Meanwhile, in terms of wants in a home, this category covers the amenities you like to see in a home. Consider them as “extras” on top of the needs. For instance, two bedrooms for your children is a need, while an adjoining bathroom in between the rooms is a want. An outdoor space where kids can play is also a need, whereas a backyard that has a swimming pool is a want.

Again, before you jump right into the listings and the open houses, ask yourself what exactly you’re looking for in a home. This will take a huge chunk off your savings abroad so don’t let your dream home stay on your mind. Jot it down.

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