Is It Must or Lust? 3 Ways to Win in Your Home Search

When you get the green light by your lender to start searching for properties, the excitement can quickly become all-consuming. Your heart is filled with all the dreams in the world.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the “I have to have ___________,  so I’ll cut back somewhere else ” game, even when you don’t actually know where that somewhere else is or if you can realistically cut back there.

How to Narrow Your Property Search

Understanding how to know the difference between a must-have or a lust-have will be the key to winning in your home search and finding the house of your dreams AND reality.

Make Your List of Lusts

Start by getting everyone in the family together on the couch and have each person make a list of everything they want in your house. This ‘il be fun! 😉

Think of the things you lust after on your Instagram feed. If you love it, jot it down. 

Once you and your partner (and the kids) have everything down, make a new list starting in order from things you want most to least. Do you need more space? Do you need a big yard? A walk-in closet? You get the point. 

Narrow your list down to your top 10, and then compare your list to your partner’s top 10. What things appear on both lists? Those items should carry more weight because you both want them in your home.

Now Highlight Your Musts

This is the part where you decide those things you strongly consider as “non-negotiable.”

  • For example, if your family must live in a particular school district, location will become a Must for you.
  • If you have a large family or run a home-based business, a certain number of rooms could be a Must for your family.
  • Your Non-negotiable list should be fairly short to give you enough variety in your home search. With home inventories being so low, compromise will often be needed.

Bring Your List When You Look at a Home

As you’re out looking at houses, keep your list handy. Maybe you’re not willing to give up hardwood floors for a jetted tub, but would you be willing to compromise for a jetted tub and extra square footage? Refer back to your must-haves list often. It’s easy to get distracted.

Here’s a quick checklist that I use when searching for a home. If you answer “yes” to all of these, then a “Lust” may be worth the splurge — that is, if you can be sure that you’ll be able to afford the feature (in terms of your monthly mortgage payments and living expenses).

  • Is it on both of your lists?
  • Is it something that’ll be extremely expensive and difficult to change or add?
  • Would you be willing to sacrifice something else to have it?
  • Would you feel like your house would be incomplete without it?

Searching for homes doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Using this simple process will keep you and your family on track to what you really want and will hopefully reduce conflict along the way. And we could all use some of that, right?

What are some of your MUSTS or LUSTS? Share them in the comments below and have a little fun!