Home Buyer Priorities: What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Home

Buying a home is a big investment, so you should make sure to find something that suits your needs now and in the future! When should buyers focus on one trait over another?

Home Buyer Priorities: What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Home Close
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Home Buyer Priorities: What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Home

Posted by Gary Ashton RE/MAX Advantage on Monday, November 19th, 2018 at 9:32am.

Picking the Right Home for Your NeedsThe decision to buy a home is a big one. In fact, homeownership actually represents the single biggest investment likely to be made by most Americans today. The size of this monetary investment alone is more than enough reason why buyers should give some extra consideration to the process.

It makes sense for homebuyers to look at their individual situations to factor this information into the process to make sure that the home they purchase is really the very best choice for them, whether it be Lebanon real estate or Watertown homes.

Factors to Consider in a Home-Buying Wishlist

When buying a home, buyers should have a list of items they both want and need in their home. Needs should include square footage, distance from work, number of bedrooms, and other qualities of the home that cannot be easily changed. Homeowners should also put together a “wants” list, in which they can include things they strongly desire in their homes, such as pools, a kitchen island, or a home theatre.

Some homeowners get their wants and needs conflated and may struggle to find a home that fits everything they need and want in an affordable budget.

Common Home-Buying “Needs” in a Home

Every home buyer’s wish list varies to some degree, but there are many elements to a new home that most everybody wants. Some of the largest groups of home buyers include first-time home buyers, young and growing families, and empty-nesters. And depending on which category you fall into, your needs and wants will most definitely depend on your individual situation. With that said, however, a few must-have features that today’s modern home buyers want include some of the following:

Square Footage Over Condition?

Finding a home that can offer extra space is a popular reason to shop for a home. Many who buy a home for this reason sometimes choose to maximize their home shopping budget by seeking out homes that can offer maximum square footage for the price, even if some of that square footage will require initial finishing or renovations before it can be used. Some of these possibilities include:

  • Homes that offer unfinished spaces that could be easily converted into living space, such as those with full or partial unfinished basements, those with large attic spaces, or those with an oversize attached garage that could be partially converted to needed living space
  • Larger distressed or foreclosed homes that can be bought for a reduced price (these are only a good value if it will be possible to both buy and renovate them within the original amount the home buyer is planning to spend)
  • Large, older homes that are still structurally sound but are priced lower to reflect cosmetic issues that have made it difficult for them to compete with newer, more market-ready homes

Are you more interested in a single story or a multiple story home? Maybe you are looking for a lot of space, or maybe you hate to have stairs. You can always get a single-story home with high ceilings, but a two or more story may have more storage. A single-story will be easier on maintaining temperature and for wheelchair access.

Determine if you are looking for a condo, townhouse, or single-family home. You’ll save money on a condo or townhouse and avoid yard work, but with a single-family home, you’ll get more privacy, and it’s quieter.

Home Location

Finally, make sure you know if you would be best suited in an urban area where you can walk to entertainment, you’re close to work, and you get a unique style or the country where you can get something newer, quieter, and newer. The city life will be more expensive, have higher crime rates, and cost more, while the country may have a longer commute for work and entertainment.

Interior and Amenities

How many bedrooms do you need? Are you going to need more in the future for kids or your own fitness room or home office? Consider the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms for your needs. Keep in mind square footage too.

A larger space will have more room, but sometimes a smaller space can appear large with the right layout. Extra rooms are great for media rooms, gyms, and a kid’s playroom, but it’ll be more expensive.

These are items to consider since all household needs vary.

Common Home-Buying "Wants" in a Home

A large portion of a home-buying wishlist is going to be "wants" rather than "needs." Consider the following popular home-buying wishlist items for inspiration for your own home-buying "wants" wishlist.


Homebuyers today are trending more towards city life, and being able to walk to nearby amenities like shopping, dining, and entertainment has become increasingly important. So whether you’re looking for a new home or condo right in the heart of downtown Nashville or within one of its many fabulous neighborhoods, considering what’s nearby, a potential new place to live seems to be more important than ever.

Energy Efficiency

People are much more energy-conscious than they were even five or six years ago. Today, it’s all about what’s eco-friendly inside a home, from your kitchen appliances all the way down to the windows. Water-saving fixtures are also becoming highly important to homeowners, and when you factor in just how much money you can save over time with eco-friendly home features, it’s easy to see why.

Fully Updated Kitchen

We’ve all heard it before—the kitchen is the most important room in the house when selling your Nashville home. For whatever reason, homebuyers love a fully updated kitchen that’s equipped with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, updated cabinetry, and all the other top-of-the-line finishes that fill out a kitchen. In most cases, home buyers don’t want the headaches of remodeling and re-doing the kitchen independently, so if you’re looking to put your home on the market and want top dollar, pay close attention to the kitchen.

Open Concept Floor Plans

This particular element shouldn’t be of much surprise to anyone anymore, but it’s certainly still worth noting. The idea of compartmentalized, closed-off rooms has long been dated, and home buyers nowadays want a house that all flows together. Open floor plans most certainly make a home feel more spacious, and it’s ideal for entertaining as well.

Focusing on Move-in Ready Homes

Purchasing a luxury home that is already in excellent condition and ready for a new owner without making any or only very minimal adjustments often means being willing to pay top dollar. But for some home buyers, purchasing a move-in ready home works best with their situation, making it the best use of their housing dollars.

Some examples of when buying a move-in ready home may include:

  • Homebuyers that have sold or are selling their larger home and want to downsize into a smaller, more convenient one
  • Buyers who have physical, time, or financial limitations that would make it difficult to plan and carry out necessary repairs and renovations
  • Buyers who need to purchase and move into a home quickly with minimal delays

Home Condition Factors to Ignore When House Hunting

As you walk through homes on your house hunt, here are 9 things about a for-sale home that you should ignore to keep from passing on what could be the perfect home for you. These are...

An “Older” Home

Old isn’t always synonymous with bad. Some homes built decades ago have stood the test of time because they were built with solid, quality materials and had a classic style. Don’t let your buyers always assume that new = nicer, either. Some newer homes are “affordable” because they were built cheaply. Buyers should remember that there are many simple fixes for dated homes, and the plus side of an older home is the charm and character you can’t find in a brand new build.

Paint Colors

Things that may not be a huge deterrent, in the long run, can distract buyers. Remind clients to ignore the existing paint choices and focus on the structure of the room, the placement of the windows, and other more permanent features. Paint is a straightforward and cheap fix in a home and can be changed in just a couple of hours.

Wacky Wallpaper

Like paint, wallpaper is easily replaced or covered over. So no matter how challenging walls seem to look—it’s an easy fix.

Kitchen Appliances And Accessories

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and often, the appliances aren’t going to live up to most buyers’ dreams. As long as the buyer leaves some room in the budget or has a timeline to replace the existing appliances, a seller’s yellow fridge shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Ugly Carpet

Flooring options are getting more diverse, and there are now so many low-cost options that look exactly like their higher-priced counterparts. Don’t let a client walk away from a great house just because the floor is a bore—or a mess.

Funky Smells

Except for a serious mold problem, there’s nothing a deep cleaning can’t fix. Prep your buyer and remind them to focus on the home’s bones and the potential it has when they give the home its own touch.

Curb Appeal

If your buyer is not saying “wow” when you first drive up, that’s ok. Give the client a heads-up and let them know that reward awaits inside. Tell them to close their eyes and envision a different colored front door and some new landscaping, and presto—it might just be their dream home!

Popcorn Ceilings

It’s great at the movies, but not at home. No worries! A ceiling specialist can come in and have it all that scrapped off. It can be a messy issue and can be pricey, but it’s not the end of the world.

No Privacy

If the house feels too exposed and lacks privacy from next door—there are ways to fix that. Remember, “hedges make great neighbors,” and you should be prepared to offer your clients smart solutions to remedy the issue.

When is Resale Potential a Large Factor?

Buyers in the market now may also want to consider their long-term goals before deciding which home they will ultimately purchase. In most cases, buyers try to plan on owning the home they are buying for at least five full years. This amount of time is often needed to recoup the full purchase price and other costs associated with the purchase, such as closing costs and moving expenses. Buyers who will likely need to sell and move more quickly than five years may want to purchase well below their maximum price point to limit any losses at that time.

Buyers who plan to stay in the home purchase for several years, so buying with resale value in mind is less important. However, these buyers should still attempt to purchase a home with no known major issues that will make reselling more difficult years or decades from now. Homes that might be difficult for resale in the future include those in declining neighborhoods and those that may be easily over-improved for the area in which they are located.

Buyers who want to make sure that they choose the best possible home for both their current and future needs should consider discussing the matter candidly with their real estate professional before beginning to view homes. Your agent will be able to offer valuable insight into real estate values and market trends in the area that can be very helpful during your home search.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 Real Estate Team in Tennessee and #2 RE/MAX team in the World!

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