Like anything else in life, you can’t realize your dream home if you don’t know what it is – and is not, definitionally. For purposes of this conversation, our definition of a dream home is closely related to our aspirations and our visions in a couple of key ways. Aspirationally, dream homes take some work and effort to achieve – they aren’t usually handed to us on a silver platter.
Our dream homes are related to our holistic visions for our lives, as well. By that I just mean that our dreams of home are less about owning a particular building, and more about creating a vision for our whole life as it will be impacted by our choice of home. We want a home that will allow our children to flourish, that is safely located, that allows us to personalize it and either does or doesn’t require much work, depending on our personal preferences. By the same token, our dream home is also one that doesn’t create problems of our lives or prevent us from doing the things we want and need to do.
If a given home is beautiful, but owning it requires us to work overtime at a job we hate, causes relationship problems, or simply requires too much repair or work for the time and resources we have, then that home is – by definition – not our dream home.
Here are some other concepts of home that are often confused for dream homes, but don’t fit the bill. Your Dream home should not be defined by:
- The over –the-top fantasy mansion you saw on TV (if it’s bizarrely unattainable, in other words, it’s a fantasy home – not a dream home).
- Some antiquated notion of the biggest, flashiest home with the most amenities.
- The most expensive home you can afford.
- Your mother’s sister’s or best friend’s dream home.
Understand what makes for a dream home – and what doesn’t – can help you avoid the common pitfalls of being upset when your dollar doesn’t stretch to get you a home like the one you saw on Million Dollar Listings, overextending yourself, or assuming that the types of homes your friends and relatives think are ideal for you are the same as your dream home. While they may overlap, they don’t always – and trying to fulfill someone else’s idea of what your dream home should be is the fastest way to create a nightmare home buying experience.
You should have a clear vision of your dream home, to avoid the above pitfalls. Most important of these is to sit in a still and quiet place and literally start writing down what you want your life to look like after you’re in the home of your dreams.
Know the difference between your vision for “this” dream home, and your long-term vision. The home you buy now might not be your forever home. It’s essential that you feel comfortable with the prospect of staying put for 5-7 years before you buy, in most areas. But don’t feel like this home must have every feature you’ll ever want to have in a home. Especially if you’re buying your first home, the reality is that you’ll likely move up several time in your future, as your career, earnings and savings grow over time.
Also, if your ‘dream’ home features list is particularly aggressive and/or your budget is particularly tight for your area, you might have to exercise serious visionary powers to visualize how you can develop the home you can currently afford into you dream home over time. Focus on location, expandability, (For example finishing the basement) and these other characteristics of a hidden gem of a home, and find someplace that is livable right now, but has the potential, with your hard work to become the home of your dreams down the road.