No matter if your planning on buying your first home or you’ve moved more times than you can count, making a wish list is something I strongly encourage all of my clients to do. It helps you stay focussed, organized, and gives you the advantage of knowing the house that fits you best as soon as you see it.
Your wish list could be as simple as “3 bedrooms, Minnow Lake, Under $400,000”, but chances are there’s more detail in your mind than you realize. Modern or classic? Spacious or cozy? Big yard? Bungalow or Multi-level?
I’m going to help guide you to the perfect wish list – one that highlights your priorities and helps you make a better decision when it comes time to put pen to paper (do people still use those things?). As an added bonus, I’ve created a super-convenient template that you can download for free.
Step 1 – Create a Hit (& Miss) List
As the (paraphrased) famous quote once said “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been”. There’s obviously a reason why you’re considering a move, but even if it’s your first house, you can still look at the positives and negatives of where you live now. Do you like your room sizes? How about outdoor space? Is the kitchen chef-worthy?
Try and pick out what you like and don’t like about your house/apartment and write it down. It’ll go a long way to getting a clearer picture of what you’re looking for.
Step 2 – Which Neighbourhood Are You?
We are lucky to have a wonderfully diverse group of neighbourhoods in Sudbury. From the kitschy Hospital Area to the modern East Minnow Lake, Sudbury has a neighbourhood for every lifestyle.
It makes sense that immediately you focus your list to a few areas that fit you best. Here’s some things you can ask yourself to determine which neighbourhood you should be in on:
- Do I like where I live now, or is it time for a change?
- What are my favourite things to do in Sudbury?
- Where do I travel to most in Sudbury?
- How important is it to be close to work?
- Do you want to be close to friends/family?
- Would I use a park or waterfront if it were close to me?
- Would I walk/bike to stores and events if they were close?
These questions should help you get on the right track. If you need a little more help determining which neighbourhood meets these needs, you must check out my Complete Sudbury Neighbourhood Guide.
Step 3 – The Essentials
These are the core things your new house must have. Let’s start with bedrooms and bathrooms. For example, if you have 2 children, you probably want at least 3 bedrooms – and if they’re teenaged girls, you probably want 3 bathrooms too. Think about where you live now (even if you’re renting). Are the number of rooms okay to fit your lifestyle, or do you need more? Have empty rooms? Maybe less is the way to go.
After the number of rooms, it’s time to focus on other things you just can’t do without. Again, look at your current living space for inspiration as to what you can and cannot do without. I’m a huge fan of ranking these items in terms of priority, as it may help you with a difficult decision if you find two similar homes with different features.
Step 4 – If I Had Unlimited Cash…
This exercise doesn’t have to stop at one item either. In fact, I’d suggest writing down a few and rank them. This way when we get into a home that has all the essentials plus more you’ll have an idea of which items mean most to you.
When it comes to features of the home you’re looking for, a good place to start is to ask the question “If I had unlimited cash, my house would have…”. Now it could be an upgrade on something you don’t like in your current home, or just a dream of something you’ve always wanted – just keep it realistic (there won’t be too many gold plated kitchens coming on the market!) Instead think of things like maybe an additional unit to rent out, an ensuite bath, a dedicated office space, or a kick-ass garage.
Step 5 – Determine Your Style
Definitely overlooked by many buyers when putting together a wish list, the style of house can dramatically change the feel despite being statistically similar. For example an 1800 square foot bungalow would typically have two 900 square foot floors, which would lend itself to having a more airy and open concept feel, whereas an 1800 square foot two-storey home would have three 600 square foot floors, which provides much more privacy and separation.
Look at your lifestyle – would multiple floors be helpful in finding some quiet time from your kids or spouse? Maybe you’d rather have open spaces that make the house seem bigger than it is. This is a preference, but something you should try and figure out when drafting the list for your ideal home.
Bonus: Here’s a Template!
I know this process can be daunting – after all your home should be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. But I’ve got you covered with this awesome (and free) template. It’ll help guide you along the right path to get a killer pre-buying wish list, and give you confidence to pull the trigger on the right home when you see it.