How to Determine Your Housing Needs

Child-you knew exactly what your dream home would look like. It probably involved a pantry full of Oreos, Gushers, and Pop-Tarts, and a freezer stuffed with Bagel Bites and Gogurt. In this dream home, you could do whatever you pleased, safe behind your piranha-infested moat (if you were into that kind of thing). High-school/college-you watched MTV Cribs and was introduced to the idea of a pool with a cave and/or bar hidden behind a fake waterfall, and a bathroom where you could play baseball. Either way, chances are once upon a time you probably had a pretty solid idea of what your dream home would look like.

Adult you, however, is drowning in social media, hashtags like #dreamhome and #realestateporn, and the countless DIY and design shows flooding our increasingly higher-resolution. By the time you are finally ready to actually buy your perfect home, you’re more than likely in the grips of analysis paralysis.

Determining your housing needs is an important step, and most real estate experts would give you this simple advise. Come up with two lists; one with your minimal requirements and needs, and a second wish list with all the non-essential amenities and add-ons that nevertheless speak to what child-you once dreamt of. Here are a few things to think about when you come up with these lists:


What is important to you, and what are you willing to compromise on? You should think about location in terms of proximity to schools, job, public transit, and social and leisure activities. Consider if you’d prefer being in a residential neighborhood, on a suburban street, or in an urban setting. Consider the size of your dream home, and think about the amenities you want at your fingertips. Is safety important to you? There are a number of home-security and smart-home systems you can install.

Think about function

Do you want your home to be the cool house on the block, where your entertain friends and family? If so, an open floor plan and a finished patio/backyard area may be a deciding factor. If you have pets and younger children, a larger, fenced-in backyard might suite you better. If you happen to have a green thumb and like your fresh veggies in the summer, you should make sure you have space for a garden. If you’re not into entertaining and like your peace and quiet, and elegant landscaped front yard with a small porch might be just your thing.

If you ever have to work from home, a private office tucked away from the general hustle and bustle of the main living space will allow you to focus on work in peace.  The best part of buying your own home is that it’s all about making the space work with how you like to live your life.

The nonessential essentials

Congratulations! You’ve narrowed down what you absolutely need in your home. It’s time to think about what fun, extra add-on treats you want. We’ve discussed the basics. Now think about the things that would be the icing on your home-cake and make you never want to leave. Trick out your home with the latest and greatest in home-entertainment systems, install a catwalk for your furry companion, hang up a hammock bed for those really lazy summer days, or grow a vertical herb garden in your kitchen for your not-so-inner foodie. Make the space your own. Make it a home. The possibilities are endless.