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No house has everything a buyer wants unless you have an infinite source of money and time. (Which most don’t.) For the purpose of this article, let’s say you have some ideas of your dream home design and a set amount to spend. Where do you start? Make a list! Follow the yellow brick road to narrowing down what you must have and what you can live without.

1. Location

Where do you want to live? Country? City? ‘Burbs? In a castle high on a mountain overlooking a field of unicorns? Yeah. Don’t we all. On second thought, cross that off your list. Decide what your geographical utopia is and ask yourself what about it that appeals to you. Near schools? Shopping? A mile down a dirt road and no wifi? It’s a matter of personal preference.

2. Size

Do you dream of a sprawling floor plan for entertaining and room for a growing family? Do you prefer cozy and charming? Envision smaller rooms and bigger living space or vice versa? Yard? Room for a pool? Space to build a detached garage?

3. Bedrooms

Consider how many rooms you’ll need. Will the kids need their own room? Guests? An office/guest bedroom? A secret hiding place with a deadbolt and padded walls? I get it.

4. Kitchen

Do you dream of a spacious kitchen with an island and one billion cabinets? Do you cook? Or do you just like the idea of cooking? No judgment- just a question. How much time will you spend in this room?

5. Dining

Will you entertain? Do you eat formal, sit down meals often? If so, often enough to warrant a formal dining room? Are there other ways you could use the room to make it more practical for everyday use?

6. Living room

How much time will you spend in the living room? Do you want an open plan where the living/kitchen conjoin? Do you watch more television in the living room than the bedroom?

7. Bathrooms

How many bathrooms are a necessity? Tread carefully. If you have teenage girls, I’m going to insist you consider not sharing your bathroom with a teenager. It’s a recipe for discontent and an ample amount of eye rolling. Kids can share with kids. (Depending on how many.) Is there such a thing as a three bedroom, six bath house? Only if you’re a unicorn.

The possibilities are endless. Finding your dream home, without building it can seem daunting but knowing what you need and what you can let go before you start looking will help narrow your search. It’s ok if you change your mind along the way! Just remember that what makes a house a home is YOU! (Not the unicorns.)