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There’s a difference between what you need and what you want. We all need a place to eat, sleep and call home, but when the time comes to buy that place, there’s a lot to consider. In a dream world we could envision our perfect home and magically make it happen. But this is reality, and in reality we all have budgets and other parameters we must work within, which is why I encourage all of my clients to start with a wish-list. It helps you determine exactly what you need, want, and must-have. It lays down a blueprint for your house hunt and it keeps you in check.

Here are some suggestions to help get you started building your wish-list:

• Make a list of all the things you love and don’t want to give up in the place you’re currently – a kitchen island, a soaker tub, a fireplace – whatever gives you pleasure and makes your house feel like home.

• A wish-list can also be referred to as a “change-list” – meaning, these are all the things about my current living space that must change. So take note of all the things in your current space that you are not happy with and highlight anything that frustrates you to no end.

• Consider how long you’re going to be in this home and what you envision happening in your life during that period. If you’re finally going to get that pet dog you’ve always wanted, then you’ll have to consider that when choosing the property.

• Identify which items you must have now, and which items can be added over time. Maybe you really want a deck in your backyard and you’ve just seen a great house that has everything but. A deck is something you can add on down the road.

• Consider your wish-list a constantly changing thing. Trust me – once you start looking at properties, you’ll be adding and dropping things from your list. That’s the best part about house hunting – every place you see gives you a better sense of what you’re really looking for.

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