Balancing Wants and Needs During Your Home Search

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In the market for a new home? After you check your credit score, determine how much you can afford, and secure a mortgage pre-approval letter, figure out what you absolutely need in your new home and your “nice to haves.”

Make a checklist

Whether it’s a certain school district, a basement, hardwood floors, or four bedrooms instead of three, knowing your needs versus your wants—and how you plan to balance the two—is crucial before you go on your first tour.

Making a checklist in advance can help, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Break down the checklist into three sections—interior, exterior, and community—with two columns for needs and wants.

Ask important questions

These types of questions are great at starting to level-set your needs vs. wants.

Older home, fixer-upper, or new? One story or two? Fenced in yard, patio, and/or deck? Garage? Pool? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Hardwood floors or wall-to-wall carpet? Eat-in kitchen? Laundry room, den, basement, and/or pantry? Gated community, golf course, and/or homeowners association? Close to public transportation?

What can you give up? What’s a dealbreaker?

What can you give up if the house has all a lot of your other essentials? You can even drill down further and divide the list into important wants and nice-to-have sections.

For example, maybe you want a pantry and a house you like doesn’t even have the space to add one. That might be an important want. On the other hand, maybe you want granite countertops, but know you can install those later. Add that to the nice-to-have section.

Buying a house is a big investment and even with a list, you might not find a house that checks all the boxes. That’s why going into the search prepared will get you closer to that home of your dreams.

Ready to get started? Reach out to one of our loan officers today—they’re excited to help!


With more than 21 years in the industry, we’re a leading fintech mortgage lender saving current and potential homeowners money and time through transparent rates, zero junk lender fees*, and technology that automates over five million tasks each month. We’ve served over 100,000 borrowers, boast a 98% customer satisfaction rating and 4.9 stars on thousands of online reviews, and provide a “mortgages without migraines” experience. (*Note: Wyndham does not charge junk fees, application fees, processing fees, or underwriting fees. There can be fees charged directly by Third Parties for services such as, but not limited to, title, settlement, appraisal, taxes, and insurance.)

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