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Before embarking on your property search, it’s crucial to establish a clear vision of what you desire in order to stay on track and manage expectations effectively. This comprehensive guide outlines key factors to consider when building your property wishlist, including budget, location, property type, size and layout, features and amenities, maintenance and upkeep, future needs, and resale value.

Budget: Begin by determining your budget and establishing a realistic price range for the property. Assess your financial situation, evaluating income, savings, and monthly cash flow, and calculate affordable mortgage payments. Consider additional homeownership costs like closing costs, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses to refine your options within your financial means. It is advised that housing costs should generally not exceed 25-30% of your gross monthly income.

Location: Define your location preferences based on factors such as proximity to workplaces, schools, business districts, transportation options, and specific requirements like a quiet neighborhood or access to outdoor activities. Consider the investment potential of the area, whether it’s your current residence or an area presenting an appealing opportunity.

Purpose: What kind of property are you looking for? Are you looking for a home for yourself? Or are you looking for an investment property, whether that be a fix & flip or a rental unit? Or perhaps a combination of both — a multi-family rental owner-occupied property?

Type: Decide on the type of property that suits your lifestyle and goals, whether it’s a single-family home, townhouse, condominium, or apartment. Each type has unique advantages and considerations, such as autonomy and maintenance responsibilities, so choose one that aligns with your preferences and long-term plans. Visit our Guide to Buying Property for more detailed considerations.

Size and layout: Evaluate your space needs based on family size, future plans, and personal preferences. Determine the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other rooms that are essential, such as an office, and consider the property’s layout and flow to ensure it accommodates your requirements effectively.

Features and amenities: Create a list of must-have features and amenities, such as a backyard, garage, swimming pool, wheelchair accessibility, natural lighting, or other elements that are significant to you. Differentiate between must-haves and nice-to-haves, as it’s essential to prioritize within your budget.

Maintenance and upkeep: Assess your willingness and ability to handle maintenance and upkeep. Consider factors like landscaping, repairs, and potential renovations, and determine your comfort level with the associated responsibilities. Be aware that certain property types, like apartments or condominiums, may offer maintenance services through homeowners’ association fees.

Future needs and plans: Anticipate your future needs and plans, such as starting a family or potential changes in living situations. Choosing a property that aligns with your long-term goals will save you from having to go through the home selling and buying process again in the near future.

Resale value: While it may seem premature, evaluating the potential resale value of a property is crucial. Research market trends in the area, assess the property’s condition and appreciation potential, and align your investment goals accordingly.

By considering these factors, you can effectively define your property wishlist and streamline your home search process, ensuring that your final choice meets your expectations and aligns with your needs and aspirations.