Your lender may be willing to loan you a mint, but do you really need that much house?
Even comparison shopping with a site like LendingTree might not be enough to put you in the right mortgage.
Likewise, a good real estate agent won't just ask you to determine the house you want based on the loan you can get, because you might not be able to carry the mortgage.
We emailed Brings to pick his brain about what else you need to consider.
"Have you stopped to think about what you need?" asked Brings, emphasizing the "need."
Brings says your wants should be flexible, negotiable points.
Your home owning needsare what truly matters.
Brings says you'll also have to be flexible with your needs, not so much either-or, but more-or-less.
First consider the size of your family and your family's life style. If you are a backyard family, you can't buy most condos. If you live small, a big house won't cut it.
You may need an extra room for an office, study, artwork or sleeping-over space for relatives who never go home.
"Ask yourself questions about how you spend your time. Where do you spend the majority of your time in your current home? If the answer is "outside," then you probably don't need a lot of indoor space," Brings says
Likewise, if your tribe gathers in a living space, you'll need one that's a comfortable fit for the gang.
Family size and needs also come into play when you consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need.
If you have a penchant for entertaining, you'll have to throw that into the bedroom-bathroom mix.
You'll want a strategically placed bath or half bath nearby on the ground floor, to keep guests from ogling your private master bedroom.
If you host really large crowds, you may need a second downstairs bath, maybe off the game room, the guestroom or in the basement, but away from your personal spaces, says Brings.
Kitchens, family rooms
"If you're a cook, you may also look for more storage in the kitchen as well as larger, commercial styled appliances," Brings suggested.
Gourmet cooks want the latest appliances and lots of storage room. Kitchen islands and pantries can help with both. The island can double as party central and a family meeting center - with nosh to nibble on.
Many homes today forego formal dining spaces and add more informal space in enlarged kitchens to meet all casual and gourmet dining needs, entertainment habits and family gathering needs.
Today's kitchens are also typically just off the family room, today's second most important room in the home. This is also where families gather and where parties overflow.
Brings says, when it's time to buy, how you and your family live often has a lot more to do with the home you choose, than how much money you can borrow.
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