The search is on for a new home and you are all excited. You’re in front of the computer and thousands of results are coming up, all these wonderful properties to entice you, new realms to explore, endless possibilities of finding happiness, but wait, there is one thing more you need to have done!

Yes you’ve already done the most important thing, you’ve worked out how much you have to spend, set the parameters to your search so what else is there you could possibly need to do other than just start viewing property?

You must be very clear on stating to yourself what you need from your next home, not what you want but what you need!

Doing this can save you countless hours of heartache and frustration and it can make dealing with estate agents so much simpler, in theory.

What do I mean by ‘not what you want but what you need’?

Let me give you a personal example.

Many years ago my wife and I were looking to buy our first home together. I stated to her with great pomp and ceremony, ‘we need to find somewhere with a garage or at least space to put one and I don’t want somewhere that needs work doing to it, we’re both too busy for all that!’ There, done, as clear as could be, who needs more info to help find the perfect home.

We found a beautiful home and lived there for around ten very happy years. My wife moved into the house six months after we bought it, that’s how long it took to make it habitable and when we left all those years later there still wasn’t anywhere to park a car off the road.

We didn’t achieve either of the two things I had set out to find. Why?

Simply because they were things I wanted, what we needed was something else and the home we bought suited those needs.

Property is compromise. There is no such thing as the perfect home, there is near perfect but to find it you must be honest with yourself.

Buying a home is an emotional thing and I always say ‘be led by the heart’ but the head must have its place at the decision making table.

Sit down and write out a list of what you want. Once you have everything written down go through a little process.

Imagine you have just found a home that felt so wonderful you didn’t want to walk out of the door, picture yourself standing there and run down your list of wants. Now, one by one, ask yourself whether you can live in this home without the item on your list.

If you look at something and think ‘I can’t live without that’, ask yourself why? What does it mean to your life to be with or without this feature. What is the real benefit to you? How will having it or not having it affect you?  What impact will it have on you? When you find something that you realise you really can’t live without, however trivial or major it is, put it on your ‘Needs’ list. Don’t forget your wants they are very important but look at your needs list and ask if a property satisfies those. If it does then look at how many ‘wants’ it also covers and decide how it compares with other properties you view. If a property comes up and it doesn’t satisfy your ‘needs’ then you have to question, is it worth viewing?

If I went back and asked myself all those years ago ‘what were my needs?’ what would I have answered?

I needed a big garden, why? I wanted an element of privacy. A garden is a place where both my wife and I find ourselves relaxing, it plays a massive part in our lives. We love cooking and needed a large room to cope with our passion. We needed somewhere with a cosy living room, home for us is a feeling and we needed somewhere that would help us create that special ambience. It came from the look of the property partly but the layout was important, the proportions of the rooms. There were lots of reasons why we could have said no to the house at first glance but we were lucky to find a wonderful home and I want you to do the same.

Go through your list, ask yourself searching questions and be honest, let a little emotion get involved but do ask, ‘if I love the house but it doesn’t have this, can I make it  home?’

Once you start viewing potential homes this list may alter slightly but in having taken this one step you may well find that you view a home you might otherwise have discounted and you may avoid viewing somewhere that in reality, however nice it sounds, it will never really suit your lifestyle and future goals.

Happy hunting!


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