Separating Needs from Wants

Buying a Home
Separating Needs from Wants

When looking at houses for sale it's easy to get wrapped up in the details of a home instead of seeing the big picture. Homebuyers can get so excited about house hunting, they start to believe they need certain bonus features, like an in-ground pool or hot tub. Before you begin looking at houses for sale, be clear about your must-have features and the ones you can live without, at least for now. Ameris Bank can help you prioritize your wants from your needs when it comes to buying a home.  

Create a House Hunting Checklist  

Wants and needs will vary from person to person. When you’re involving your family in the homebuying process, take time to sit with them and make a list of the features that are important to everyone. Once you’ve developed this list, organize it into two sections: one for wants and one for needs. Understand that each family member may define wants and needs differently. There will be plenty of room for debate and compromise in this process. 

Identify Your Needs

Your needs list should include the must-have features your family cannot live without. Here are some examples of needs for many prospective homeowners:

  • A home that’s priced within your budget
  • Enough bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Specific floor plans for anyone with special needs
  • High-quality school district
  • Short commute to work
  • Fenced-in backyard for dogs and children
  • Sound foundation and structure

Once you have your needs list, you can use it to filter results when looking for homes online or with a real estate agent. This will help you drill down to the homes that fit your criteria and avoid the disappointment of seeing homes that don’t align with your family’s basic priorities.

Understand Your Wants

Your wants are the extras you would like your new home to have. They may even bring more value to your home down the road. These nice-to-have features are important to determine as you begin house hunting. Here are some examples of common homeowner wants:

  • Pool
  • Fireplace
  • Specific finishing touches, like crown molding
  • Walk-in closet
  • Recreation room
  • Specific architectural style
  • Deck or patio

If a home you love doesn’t include some of your wants, this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. You may consider adding these items to a future home improvement list. Once you build up enough equity in your home, you can always take out a home equity line of credit or home equity loan to help fund home improvement or renovation projects. Talk to your real estate agent to determine the kinds of additions that could be feasible down the road.

Separating your wants from your needs is an important step in the homebuying process. Without defined priorities, it’s easy to get caught up in a race against the Joneses to see who can get the biggest house with the best features.  

Breaking down your list of necessities vs. extras can help you take a more practical, level-headed approach to buying a home. Without a clear strategy, it can be easy to make a decision that leads to financial problems down the road. Distinguishing between needs and wants reveals your family’s priorities and helps you make the most of your house hunting process.

Ready to explore mortgage financing options? Find out what you need to know before you apply for a mortgage then contact Ameris Bank or visit a branch to get started. 

Published May 2024

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. 

All loans subject to credit approval.

Information presented in the Financial Advice website is provided for educational purposes only and is not related to Ameris Bank's actual products or services. Ameris Bank makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. Ameris Bank recommends you consult a professional for any specific guidance you are seeking.