A Checklist For Choosing Your Dream Home

Tina Fountain | Wed October 31st, 2012

For those in search of the quintessential dream home, preparing a realistic plan and checklist is a great way to turn that dream into a reality. Your dreamhome could be a luxury home for sale in Atlanta Georgia or one of the coastal Carolina style homes for sale in Wilmington North Carolina, either way the following checklist is a great place to start:

Step One: Set a Budget
You've probably been dreaming about and saving for the perfect home for years. This is a good time to establish a budget for your dream home. Make it a comfortable budget, one that is truly achievable both in terms of living expenses and in a realistic price range for the type of home you want.

Step Two: Check Your Credit and Obtain Pre-Aproval
While you've probably been watching your credit rating for some time, this is a good time to really protect your credit score. Also, it's usually best to get pre-qualified by a mortgage lender for a certain loan amount. That pre-qualification also serves to reinforce the budget you set.

Step Three: Make Your Wish List
Really consider what you want in a dream home and think about what lifestyle you want to have there. If you are making this purchase with a spouse or partner, discuss your wishes clearly and honestly so everyone is on the same page. Here are a few things to think about:
- Are you looking for new construction or an existing home?
- Do you want to live in the city, country, suburbs, beach, waterfront or mountains?
- What is the ideal size of your home? Do you have an empty nest, so want something easy to maintain or are you planning additions to your family and want room for your home to grow?
- Do you want a secure home in a gated community or a less confined setting?
- Is proximity to public transportation important?
- Do you want a home that needs a few repairs so you can make your mark on it or do you want a home that is move-in ready?
- Do you want a guest house for visitors or to provide you with rental income?
- Is there a particular home style you dream of such as a beach bungalow, modern loft, Plantation, Mission, Craftsman or Mediterranean?
- Do you want an open floor plan or smaller, traditional rooms?
- Do you prefer a single-level home or a multi-level residence?

Step Four: Consult with a Real Estate Agent or Broker
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, consult with a local real estate agent. The agent can help you further define your dream home wish list by asking relevant questions. The agent can search listings for homes fitting your criteria.

Step Five: Let the Search Begin
As you begin to tour homes, your agent will get an increasingly clear picture of what appeals to you. Be honest with your agent so he or she can better understand what your dream home includes. If you can, look beyond the superficial paint, flooring and art choices of the current resident to see the true home beneath. With enough time and patience, your real estate agent can help you find the home of your dreams.

Tina Fountain's Top Ten Atlanta Deals