Dream Home Check-List

The first step to get started with your home search is evaluating your wants and needs and prioritizing features, elements and amenities you’re looking for in your new home. There are some elements that you absolutely must have and there are some elements that would be nice to have if the price allows it. It is important to keep in mind that it is close to impossible to find your dream home unless you have all the time in the world to keep looking. But this checklist will help you find something REALLY close!

Dream Home Checklist

1. Price

Knowing what you can afford should be the number one thing on your to-do list, when it comes to buying a home. Before you go to open-houses, or start looking for properties online, you should sit down with a mortgage representative and evaluate your finances so that you are absolutely certain about the price range of your future home. Your mortgage rep might even advise you to wait a few months in order to lower your debt-to-income ratio or raise your credit score in order to qualify for a higher mortgage. You don’t want to be in the position where you find your dream home just to find out that you can’t qualify for a mortgage. Knowing your price range also helps you narrow down the vast market of homes to about 10% of what is currently on the market.

2. Type of Property

Are you looking for a single-family, multi-family, co-op, condo or land to build your home?

3. Location

The location of your new home will have a lot to do with what you can afford. Price ranges in New York, especially Queens, vary a lot depending on the location.

4. Condition of property

Most buyers are willing to put a little work into their new house but there are a few who absolutely need a completely renovated home. Another thing to consider is whether you are open to distressed properties (short sales and foreclosures)

5. Five Must Haves

I often tell my buyers to list their 5 must haves. It mostly has to do with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and sometimes with the size of the lot, school district and proximity to transportation. Make sure your must-have list is something that you absolutely must-have and not something that you would really, really like to have.

6. Nice-to-haves

If your price-range is an issue, a nice-to-have list often doesn’t come into the equation. But this list often includes a garage, finished basement, extra room for the home-office, etc.


I cannot stress how important it is to sit down with your mortgage representative to evaluate your finances and with your Realtor to evaluate and prioritize your wants and needs. Buying a new home is one of the most important and stressful events in your life. Why do it on your own? Both, mortgage representatives and buyer agents, are usually of no extra cost to the buyer (some buyer agents charge a commission but most do not) and most lawsuits in real estate happen when one side is under-represented.

To learn more about Buyer Representation, click here.

Karen is a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Landmark. To schedule a FREE buyer’s consultation, call 917-981-1977. 

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