How to hone your buying criteria

Woman writing in notepad

When it comes to buying property, it’s important to draw up a list of must-haves for your new home. This can avoid you wasting time viewing properties that don’t tick all the boxes, or getting distracted by other shiny features.

To do this, divide a page into two columns – one must-haves and one nice-to-haves. Now, go deep – really think about what matters to you. You may need a minimum of three bedrooms, but a fireplace may just be nice-to-have. A soothing view of nature at the end of a long day might be a must-have for you, but garage space for two cars might just be nice-to-have. Whatever your personal requirements, they’re just that – personal and unique to you, and they form the bedrock of your house-hunting process. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you make your list.

What’s your lifestyle?

Is your family active and often outdoors, or more sedentary and indoors? Do you spend a lot of time on your deck or in your garden? Are you a country-dweller at heart, or a city slicker? Is your home your sanctuary, or simply a place to lay your head? Figuring out your own relationship with your home is the first step in honing your buying criteria.

How do you use your home?

Do you work from home and need a home office? Do you love to entertain? Which areas of your home do you use the most? Think of the ways you enjoy using your current home and the elements that make that possible. Then, add those to your must-have list. (It’s also helpful to think of the areas of your home you use the least – then also keep these in mind when you’re at viewings.)

Who’ll be there – and for how long?

Family dynamics shift and change as the years go on, and nothing remains the same forever. If you’re planning to be in your next home for a while, it’s worth considering which members of the family will be living with you, both now and in the future. If your children will move out of home reasonably soon, you may want to buy a property that’ll work better when they’ve gone. On the other hand, if you’re planning on expanding your family, you may want to buy a home with more space than you currently need.

Overall, how rigidly you stick to your hit-list will depend on how long you plan on staying in your next home and how committed you are to your must-haves. Does location matter more than your must-haves, or would you consider buying a property outside your dream area to get the features you’d love? Whatever your priorities, buying a home is a hugely personal decision – make sure you consider exactly what matters most before you take the plunge.