Is this house the one?

Star-Telegram (Sunday) - - Real Estate - By Jes­sica Craig PRES­I­DENT, AR­LING­TON BOARD OF REAL­TORS

Re­mem­ber that house you couldn’t imag­ine your­self liv­ing in—the one where you told your agent a per­son would have to be crazy to buy a place with a kitchen that small? Some­one just made a full-priced of­fer on it. Turns out the buyer is sin­gle and al­most al­ways eats out.

Sure, that’s a hy­po­thet­i­cal, but my point is that every buyer brings his own per­spec­tive and needs. The char­ac­ter­is­tics you de­sire in a home may be slightly—per­haps dras­ti­cally— dif­fer­ent from the next buyer. The good news is that there are homes out there with big kitchens and tiny ones, large yards and no yards, four sides brick, three sides stone and even all-glass walls.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Although homes come in all sizes and loca- tions with vary­ing ameni­ties and styles, most home­buy­ers must make trade­offs. Af­ter all, the house with the per­fect his-and-hers home of­fice may also be on a steep lot that isn’t ideal for your kids. So, what do you do? Pri­or­i­tize

You can start to nar­row down your choices be­fore you ever look at a house for sale. How? Give some thought to what you re­ally want in a home. Start with the must-haves. For ex­am­ple, if you de­cide you have to live in a one-story home with at least three bed- rooms that’s in a cer­tain school dis­trict, you can elim­i­nate cer­tain prop­er­ties from con­sid­er­a­tion. (Must-not’s also go in this cat­e­gory, like if you will not con­sider buy­ing a home with a pool).

Next, list the char­ac­ter­is­tics you would re­ally like, but may not be deal-break­ers in an oth­er­wise fab­u­lous home. Fi­nally, write down things that would be nice if you can get them— per­haps a three-car garage or a back­yard deck.

Once you’ve pri­or­i­tized your goals, don’t ig­nore them. A spa­cious walk-in closet might tempt you to for­get about the third bed­room you said you needed. Don’t let it un­less you truly can be happy with two be­d­rooms. Like­wise, don’t dis­count a home be­cause it doesn’t have a fea­ture from the bot­tom of your list. Un­der­stand the trade­offs Un­less you have un­lim­ited fi­nan­cial re­sources, you likely will need to make a com­pro­mise or two. For in­stance, if you want a larger house but can’t af­ford one in the neigh­bor­hood of your choice, you will ei­ther have to choose a dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hood or a smaller home. Per­haps you feel more se­cure in a gated com­mu­nity but do not want to pay monthly home­owner-as­so­ci­a­tion fees. You have a choice to make. The key is to weigh these com­pro­mises and trade­offs in the con­text of your over­all ob­jec­tives.

Af­ter you con­sider the pros and cons, you might de­cide to re-eval­u­ate your list of pri­or­i­ties. How­ever, don’t sim­ply ig­nore your ini­tial goals with­out con­sid­er­a­tion of how you will ul­ti­mately en­joy that par­tic­u­lar home. In­ves­ti­gate

If you find a great home with one un­de­sir­able fea­ture, do you re­ject it out of hand? That de­pends. If the item at the top of your list is a home that works well for some­one with lim­ited mo­bil­ity, you won’t give fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion to a

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