3 Must vs. Lust Buying Tips to Avoid Overspending

The super-simple (and fun) way to separate needs from nice-to-haves.

Image: Julia Marcum / Chris Loves Julia

Vintage Revivals logo

This article was contributed by Mandi Gubler, a DIYer and home decor blogger, who writes “Vintage Revivals” and believes “your house should look like you and no one else.”

When you embark on the home-buying process, your heart is filled with all the dreams in the world. It’s really easy to get caught up in the “I have to have ___________,  so I’ll cut back somewhere else ” game, even when you don’t actually know where that somewhere else is or if you can realistically cut back there.

This post will show you how to pare down the excess and make sure to get the things you really NEED.

Make a List of Wants

Start by making a list of everything you want in your house. If you love it, jot it down. Have your spouse or partner do the same thing in a separate document.

Wide shot of bright white living room, kitchenImage: Mandi Gubler / Vintage Revivals

Once you and your partner have everything down, start sorting your wants by order of importance. What’s your No. 1? Do you need large windows? How about a sunroom? Double sinks in the master? You get the idea.

Come up with your top 10, and then compare your list to your partner’s top 10. What things appear on both lists? Those items should carry more weight because you both want them in your home.

White vanity in a bathroom

Image: Mandi Gubler / Vintage Revivals

  • The things that can’t be changed without a massive investment. I’m talking things like square footage, window size, and number of bedrooms. This is your heavyweight list. These things should take priority in your home-buying decision.
  • Features that are purely cosmetic, especially things that can be DIYed. These items should be moved waaay down the list or taken off entirely. Backsplash tile, paint color, and lighting can all be changed inexpensively and after you’re living in your house. You don’t want to pass up a fantastic house because you can’t see past a red accent wall.

Bright bedroom with wood frame canopy bedImage: Mandi Gubler / Vintage Revivals

At this point, you should have a combined list of 10 or so items.

My last tip is to figure out the priority of each one of the items. Ask yourself, would you be willing to give up item number 4, say, to have item number 5? Would you be willing to give up hardwood floors for a home theater room? This is the hardest question to answer, but it’ll put your must-haves in the right order.

I always picture this activity like an eye appointment when the doctor says, “1 or 2? OK, now 2 or 3?” Do that with your list! Pool or flooring? Flooring or yard size? Yard size or square footage? Make sense?

Bring Your List When You Look at a Home

As you’re out looking at houses, keep your list handy. Maybe you’re not willing to give up hardwood floors for a jetted tub, but would you be willing to compromise for a jetted tub and extra square footage? Refer back to your must-haves list often. It’s easy to get distracted.

Kitchen with with cabinetry, greenery, and wallaperImage: Mandi Gubler / Vintage Revivals

Here’s a quick checklist that I use when searching for a home. If you answer “yes” to all of these, then a “want” may be worth the splurge — that is, if you can be sure that you’ll be able to afford the feature (in terms of your monthly mortgage payments and living expenses).

  1. Is it on both of your lists?
  2. Is it something that’ll be extremely expensive and difficult to change or add?
  3. Would you be willing to sacrifice something else to have it?
  4. Would you feel like your house would be incomplete without it?

Happy house hunting!

Related: Why You Should TOTALLY Snoop While House Hunting

{ 0 comments }

Home Buyers Reveal: ‘What I Wish I Had Known Before Buying My First Home’

February 4, 2018

Home Buyers Reveal: ‘What I Wish I Had Known Before Buying My First Home’ By Stephanie Booth | Jan 23, 2018 Wavebreakmedia/iStock Love. Terror. Giddiness. Teeth-gnashing desperation. Buying your first home involves all these emotions, and more. And like so many other milestones in life, you won’t fully understand it until you go through the process yourself. In an effort to […]

Read the full article →

7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster

January 16, 2018

7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster Creating personalized bins is a good start. It’s so easy (and so unfair) how quickly your entryway can go from clean to chaos — and that chaos makes trying to get out the door brutal. Think of all that time wasted hunting for your keys […]

Read the full article →

Tour de Force: Don’t Make These 10 Huge House-Hunting Mistakes

January 9, 2018

Tour de Force: Don’t Make These 10 Huge House-Hunting Mistakes By Cathie Ericson | Oct 5, 2017 You’ve been thinking about settling down and buying a home for a while now, and you finally think you’re ready. It’s time to tour some digs! But hold up—you need a game plan. House hunting is about more than popping into a few open […]

Read the full article →

How To Price a House To Sell Like Hotcakes

December 29, 2017

How To Price a House To Sell Like Hotcakes By Angela Colley | Jan 20, 2016 David McNew/Getty Images Putting a price tag on a home you’re trying to sell is a tricky thing. For one, it’s your home, crammed full of memories, hopes, and dreams—and all that stuff can cloud your thinking and lead you toward the wrong price. There are […]

Read the full article →

7 Pricing Myths to Stop Believing If You Ever Hope to Sell Your House

December 11, 2017

7 Pricing Myths to Stop Believing If You Ever Hope to Sell Your House By Cathie Ericson | Sep 7, 2017 BsWei/iStock Pricing your own home is hard, what with all the history and hopes this magic number entails. Of course, you want to make a profit. Of course, all that money you spent installing a swimming pool or a […]

Read the full article →

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Garage This Year

November 27, 2017

  5 Ways to Upgrade Your Garage This Year Written by Jessica Thiefels on April 7, 2017      Image via Flickr/Cary Peterson According to The New York Times, a garage is the “final frontier in home remodeling,” and 2017 is the forecasted year that homeowners will undertake the project of de-cluttering this room to create a more functional, […]

Read the full article →

5 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall

November 21, 2017

5 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall BY BRENDON DESIMONE ON 12 OCT 2017 The days may be getting shorter, but the home-shopping benefits are growing. Real estate markets ebb and flow just like the seasons. The spring market starts hopping when the sun comes out, flowers bloom and winter is over. Conversely, fall signals the beginning of a […]

Read the full article →

The Genius Way to Clean Fast for Last-Minute Guests

November 13, 2017

The Genius Way to Clean Fast for Last-Minute Guests It’s all about priorities. Oh, and hiding messes. That, too. What in the world made you invite your new workmates over for a little “whine” time tonight? You never dreamed they’d actually say yes, but they did. Gah! While your place isn’t a total mess, it’s not […]

Read the full article →

6 Steps for Preparing Your Home for Winter

November 6, 2017

6 Steps for Preparing Your Home for Winter Keep your home safe and warm this winter with a little preparation in the fall Written by Katie Raynolds on October 31, 2017      The winter months can be cruel on your home no matter where you live. Gusting winds can batter plants. A snowstorm could stress an older […]

Read the full article →