The home shopping wish list for families

The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols
The Rob Ellerman Team at ReeceNichols
Published on May 6, 2022

If money wasn’t a part of the equation, what’s the one feature you absolutely have to have in your new home?

What is the one feature of your current home that you can’t wait to dump?

Finding the answers to these questions is the best place to start when creating a home wish list.

And, yes, you most certainly should make a list. Just as it isn’t wise to go grocery shopping without a list, shopping for a home without understanding your priorities is a waste of time and, down the line, you may be very sorry.

The problem families run into, as opposed to couples and singles, is that very often priorities differ. That’s when compromise comes into play.

Let’s take a look at the wish list, how to compile it and how to approach compromises.

The perks of having a home shopping wish list

As you’ve no doubt heard, the real estate market is moving fast. Knowing how to eliminate a particular home or to jump on one, is key.

The wish list will accomplish this and keep you on track and ready to make an offer when the right home comes along.

Another advantage of taking the time to compile a list is that it will help the family hammer out comprises before entering the market. Again, speed is king right now, so prioritizing what you can’t live without and making compromises before shopping will help immeasurably.

The wish list roundtable

Gather the family, however large or small, to brainstorm what each considers the perfect home.

Ask each person to make a list of what they don’t like about your current home. What will they be grateful to leave behind?

If anyone is having trouble with this, do an actual walk-through of the home, starting at the front door. You’d be surprised at the ‘aha moments’ you’ll encounter in this exercise.

Even small annoyances should go on the list as they will be whittled down during later steps in the process.

Next, ask each family member what aspects of your current home they will miss the most.

For instance, the backyard is the family gathering spot all summer long, something they look forward to all year. A suitable backyard would therefore be something they don’t want to forego in a new home.

Time to compromise

We suggest that you refine your lists by using a scale of one to five or one to 10 to rank each item.

Those scored with a one or two ranking are considered as “would-be-nice-to-have,” whereas something ranked nine or 10 are must-haves and therefore “deal-killers” if not present in the new home, according to Tara-Nicholle Nelson at

Everything ranking in between the two extremes is negotiable.

For example, your partner longs for a walk-in pantry, yet ranks it at three on the scale. The longing is obviously not deep and is something he or she may be willing to compromise on.

Naturally, what Mom and Dad need in a home will trump what small children think they need. But it’s important to get buy-in from all family members.

The biggest challenges come up when the two adults want wildly different things in a new home. This is where the prioritization method, mentioned previously, comes into play.

Although a wish list isn’t set in stone and may change along the way, it’s important to get clear on what each family member is willing to subject to compromise and what items are must-haves.


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