With all the best will in the world, it's easy to get a bit carried away when you start house-hunting, isn't it? You know you should be smart, stick to a budget, be realistic - and all those other 'sensible' things. But it's an exciting time, too, and you can't help but dream a little. But the question is, how do you balance what your heart wants, with what your head says? Is what you want really what you need?
It's always good to start by writing a checklist - before you even start looking at prospective purchases.
But before that even, there's an important question to ask: Do you want/need to move straight in and start 'living', or are you looking for a property to renovate?
Make a checklist
Once you ascertain that, you can write the checklist. If you are looking to move straight into a home, without the need for any building work, you will have definite wants/needs, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, useable kitchen.
But even there, your heart can start to interfere. You want enough bedrooms for you and any children, but wouldn't it be nice to have a couple of guest rooms?
You need a main bathroom but you really like the idea of having an ensuite to the master, too.
Any relatively modern home with three-plus bedrooms is likely to have two bathrooms anyway. But with regards to guest bedrooms, think smart. There's no point having empty rooms sitting there all year just in case someone visits!
The location of the property will help you decide what you need/want when it comes to cooling and heating the home, so that's quite a practical choice.
As is a decent-sized living area, practical kitchen, garage, a yard, water and power supply.
After that, the lines get a little blurred. Some sort of garden or yard could be classed as a 'need', but acreage is probably more of a 'want' - unless you've got dogs or horses, or lots of kids.
A swimming pool, spa and huge entertainment area is a 'want', not a 'need'. Unless you've got a lovely big budget. Getting the hang of it?
For some buyers, living near the shops is a 'need', if they don't have access to transport, or have small children at home. But living near the beach is a 'want'.
Good selling point
However, sometimes what the heart desires can be something that will add value to your property long-term. For example, you can get by with a very basic kitchen or bathroom, but a modern well equipped kitchen will be a good selling point when and if you move on.
That swimming pool we mentioned may be a bit of a luxury for you, but it could be the clincher for prospective buyers in the future.
For each of us the weight we give to these different factors will drive the selection of our property and no-one will have exactly the same needs and desires.
But choosing a place to call home is like entering into a relationship with that property, and with all relationships there is a degree of compromise. For example, the property may be capable of renovations to better suit you, however you may have to accept a longer commute to work.
At the end of the day, it's your money, and your decision. But using your head as well as your heart will always give you the best outcome in the end.