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  • Writer's pictureTeam Pinto

Separating Wants From Needs to Get the Best Waterloo Region Home for You

Separating what you want from what you need can be difficult when looking for the ideal house. Here's how to think about the differences, as well as a checklist to assist you in your home search.

If you came to us as a potential home buyer and requested to go house hunting, we would ask you two questions:

What do you want in a Waterloo Region home, and what do you need?

This nuance is missed on many people. If buyers insist on living at the end of a cul-de-sac, so be it: they're the clients.

But, let's be honest, you'll need a place to sleep, running water, heat, and perhaps air conditioning. However, you want a home with four bedrooms, a white picket fence, and a swimming pool.

If you're thinking about buying a house in the Waterloo Region anytime soon, here's some advice: Prepare to discern between wants and needs so that you can confidently make bids on the properties you want when the time comes. Here's how to do it:

Start With Your Dream Waterloo Region Home

Create a mental picture of your perfect house. Is it one where there is enough open space for your dogs to run about on until they run out of energy? Is it a high-rise condo with a view of the city lights? What makes it special to you, and where do you envision it being located? Now consider your financial situation: how much house can you actually afford?

If you're ready to start looking for a home, you should already have a pre-approval letter from a lender. With that price in mind, you may have to sacrifice some of your desires. Are you unsure about what is realistic and what is not? This is where our role as your real estate agents comes into play. One of a real estate agent's primary responsibilities is to know the neighbourhoods they work in, what properties are selling for, and how much additional amenities, such as an extra bedroom or a pool, should add to the price.

Now Work Backwards

As you piece together your vision of your ideal house, you may realize that there are some things you don't want to give up and are ready to spend extra for. It may be a thirty-minute commute to work, an open kitchen or family area, or perhaps something more unusual, such as wheelchair access for a family member.

Sometimes it's easy to tell the difference between desires and necessities since you'll say things like "a pool would be nice." However, another perspective is that wants are something that you can add or modify on your own.

If you're a Leafs fan, for example, you might prefer a home with white walls and blue carpet. Obviously, changing these items after you move is simple with a little effort. When you watch television house-hunting shows, it's frustrating to see couples reject home after home because the flooring isn't perfect or there isn't a patio.

Some people are unwilling to get their hands dirty and work on their own home, but trust us when we say that finding a beautiful home at a fair price is certainly easier when your wants are flexible.

Focus On the Value Items

A value item is a feature in real estate that provides value to the property for future buyers.

When weighing your needs and wants, it's a good idea to prioritize high-value things above those that are purely personal preferences but provide little value.

Dual-pane windows, granite countertops, hardwood flooring, land, attractive landscaping (though keep in mind that you'll have to maintain it), and even intangibles like a gorgeous view and being in a top-rated school district all add value.

Use a House Hunting Checklist

Sometimes, to help our clients, we suggest they create a home buying checklist of the features they want and need so we can help them determine what’s feasible within their budget.

You can use a similar checklist before you go out looking at houses. In fact, print it, fill it out and bring it to your real estate agent on the first appointment. And if you are interested in that agent being us - Team Pinto - then why not book a free Zoom consultation here, so we talk directly about your unique wants and needs in a Waterloo Region home?

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