When I was little, my dream home looked a lot like Cinderella’s castle – complete with moat, drawbridge and Prince Charming. Even now, I can still moon over glossy magazine spreads of fabulous multi-zillion dollar palatial mansions. But the home I own is one I can actually live in and keep reasonably tidy without a Downton Abbey-sized staff. That got me to thinking: with all the choices, all the homes for sale, what steps would I take to find my dream home today? Well, if you’re a modern-day Cinderella looking for your contemporary castle, here are 10 tips to help you know you’ve found THE one. No fairy godmother required.
- It feels like love at first sight. Maybe you’ve looked at three dozen homes and they’re all starting to blur. But the moment you see this one, you can’t wait to get out of car and go inside. If you get that fluttery, warm and fuzzy all over feeling, this could be the home of your dreams.
- It’s perfect enough. Sure, you’ve dreamed of a master suite with his and hers walk-in closets the size of a hockey rink and this home only has one walk-in in the master. But when you’re in love, you’re willing to overlook little flaws. You actually find them endearing. Heck, you even turn them into positives. You’re definitely hooked on the house.
- It meets your most important standards. Tiny flaws are one thing, but a deal breaker is a deal breaker. If your heart is set on a big kitchen with lots of windows, you will never be happy with a small, dark kitchen. Keep looking, someday your prince will come.
- You start mentally furnishing and decorating it. The minute you leave, you want to go pick out paint chips. You want to shop for furniture because you’ll need a bigger dining room table. You’re ready to swing by the garden store and check out flowers for the window boxes. That’s the home for you.
- You start bragging about it. You post about the house on Facebook. You text your best friend about it. You call your mom. It isn’t yours yet, but you talk and write about it as if it were. And woe to the poor soul who suggests that the guest bedroom seems a tad small. That person is in for an earful for daring to dis your dream home.
- You adore the location. It’s not just convenient. It’s perfect. It’s close to your favorite stores. The school district gets top ratings (and, big bonus, the grade school is just down the block). You’ll cut 20 minutes off your commute. There’s a cute little neighborhood park nearby. Whatever rings your bells, this location has it.
- The price is right. This dream home won’t turn into a financial nightmare. You can afford it without giving up your cable TV and living on Ramen noodles.
- The timing is right. The house will be ready for you when you’re ready for it. You won’t have to wait forever or coordinate a major move overnight.
- The size is right. It’s not too small, not too big. It has all the room you need right now with enough flexibility to grow with you.
- You can see the future from here. The holidays are months away, but you know exactly where you’ll hang the wreath. You can imagine the kids and the dog playing in the back yard – and you don’t even have kids or a dog yet. Congratulations! You’ve found your dream home. Better get your bid in.
How about you? Was there one thing that made you certain you’d found your dream home? Share it.