Determining Needs vs. Wants When Buying a Home

What you need and what you want.

When the time comes to begin your search for the perfect home, there’s a good chance you have an idea of what you’d like to find inside it. A gourmet kitchen, glistening hardwood floors and a luxurious master ensuite may be at the top of your list. It’s a good idea, however, to establish a list of needs and wants in order to avoid purchasing a home with a price tag beyond what your budget allows.

Your needs: These are the must-have features that you can’t live without. For those with children, you will likely need a home with at least three bedrooms. It would be convenient to have an extra bedroom for guests or an office, but you can certainly make do without. When it comes to bathrooms, be prepared to settle for a home with two. You will need one for family use and one for guests; a master ensuite is an added bonus.

The kitchen is one space that many house hunters don’t want to compromise on, particularly the person who does the most cooking. When viewing homes, pay close attention to things like counter space, layout and the number of cupboards. These are factors that will come into play on a daily basis and cannot be changed without major renovation.

Depending on the number of vehicles you own, having ample space for parking is a definite need. There’s nothing worse than driving up and down your street searching for a parking space every night.
If you have children and/or pets, you will also want to consider outdoor space. A backyard doesn’t have to be huge, but many people consider it a necessity for little ones or pets.

Your wants: Once you begin your home search, you may find that items you originally considered “needs” can actually be categorized as “wants”. It’s more important to stay within your budget than it is to buy a home that is loaded with extras. Granite countertops, an island and a marble backsplash would be lovely to have, but remember that you can always add these features down the road when you can afford it. The same goes for hardwood floors, a finished basement and a pool in the backyard. The best part about buying a home you can improve on is the opportunity to earn a return on your investment.

Kirby Chan’s Real Estate Investment Workshop runs once a month. See the schedule at

Contact a member of the Expert Advisors Group to help you today.