Is there a perfect home? Unless you're building it yourself and have an unlimited budget, you're probably going to have to be flexible about what you buy and compromise on some features and amenities.
How can you match what you want and need with the homes available for sale in your area? It's a matter of trading-off those amenities you want with those you can't live without.
Get out your house-hunting checklist (make one if you haven't already) to see how many of your wants and needs will be met by the homes you've visited. Try to figure out which features can be sacrificed, or what aspects of the home can be changed to make it better meet your needs.
But if you're going to make major sacrifices, the home best possess most of the other features you want or need. For instance, if the home is short a bedroom, but everything else about it works, you have to decide if your children can share a bedroom or if there is another area in the home that can converted into a bedroom. Be realistic about what you can forego, since you don't want to outgrow a new home too quickly.
Changing a home to meet your needs is another story. You have to be able to afford the remodeling or redecorating, and be willing to live through the mess.
Cosmetic improvements, such as replacing tacky wallpaper or ugly carpeting, are straightforward and can be held to a set budget. Major renovations, remodeling jobs, expansions and structural changes are more complicated and expensive.
Renovating or remodeling a whole home may be more costly and aggravating than buying a different home that has more of what you want. There may be structural issues as well. Some walls are structural and can't be removed without developing another way to support the home.
If you are buying a home based on the expectation of doing these types of projects, determine if the work you want to do is possible and cost-effective before buying it. Be sure to check with local officials to see if local zoning ordinances will permit your renovation or addition.
Ultimately, no home is perfect. But by objectively weighing the options available on the market, you'll eventually find a home that will work for you and your family.
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