couple checking out a house with real estate agentThe journey to buying a home starts with a pen and paper, listing down everything you need in a property. As you attend open houses and check out units for real, you’ll soon find yourself tweaking your list every now and then.

Instead of a big kitchen, you went for a small, easy-to-clean one. Rather than a home inside the subdivision, you set your eyes on a condo. The list changes through time, and that’s okay. You want your list to be flexible, in a way that it will accommodate the needs you haven’t previously thought of. But — and this is a big exception — you should also know which items on your list shouldn’t be compromised. That said, here’s a list of your home buying non-negotiables:

Location

The location can affect your lifestyle, including your commute to the office, the educational opportunities of your kids, and even your hobbies and recreation. Even if you found a nice property at the top of a hill, overlooking the city and the ocean, stick to your original plan of settling in a condo at the heart of the metro. Otherwise, you’ll regret paying for a big home that just doesn’t support your lifestyle.

If you want a property that lets you be anywhere fast, check out condominiums in Capitol Commons, for instance. It’s a popular neighborhood since it’s near everywhere — transportation systems, offices, schools, malls, restaurants, parks, etc.

The bottom line is location isn’t something that’s worth trading off, as it changes a lot in your lifestyle, so stick to your original plan.

Floor Plan

For sure, you’ve decided on this already, particularly the number of rooms and the layout. If you’ve settled on three bedrooms, but found a nice property that only has two, you know what to do. Sure, there’s always that option of remodelling your home, but would you want to go through all that hassle later? Plus, if you’re indeed choosing a condo, you may have limited choices in terms of what you can touch and renovate.

Resist the urge of letting a pretty-looking property change your mind about your floor plan. There’s always a pretty-looking home that has the exact number of rooms and layout you’re looking for. Just be patient in finding it, or better yet, start with narrowing your house hunting efforts based on the exact floor plans you need.

Neighbors

elderly peoplehaving coffee and playing chessThis may not be on your original list. Most people usually don’t think of their neighbors — until they get annoyed with their barking dogs, unkempt lawns, late-night partying, or too much friendliness. Unless you want to get into some bad blood with the residents in the community, start thinking about the kind of neighbors you want.

Otherwise, you may end up buying a budget-friendly home, only to cost you so much in terms of peace of mind. Note that it might be a little more difficult for you to sell the property later, in case you plan to, if you have noisy neighbors who have broken-down houses.

Again, it’s good to have some sort of flexibility in your home buying needs a list, but make sure to know which items aren’t up for negotiation.