Are Needs and Wants the same thing? Not really….

Needs are generally essential requirements and Wants are desirable. However, when making purchasing decisions – needs and wants can sometimes get out of balance and people buy on desire and emotion rather than on practicality and needs.

Wants are often those items on the “wish list”. You need a house with 3 bedrooms, no stairs and an internal laundry. You would like a house with a back deck and a private backyard. How often do real estate agents tell you that they have dedicated their searches to taking buyers around based on their specified needs only to find that they ended up buying something that did not fit the criteria, but they fell in love with one feature that they did not even ask for. Needs vs Wants…

To avoid falling into the trap of buying emotively and being lured by something that is not critical – you need to fully understand what your needs are. You might think this sounds very obvious and basic, but you will benefit from going through the process of identifying these and writing them down. Make the list with 3 columns – put in what your needs are and then either tick the immediate or Future column to help work out your priority.

Needs – e.g 3 Bedrooms. Immediate (Current – 3 Years) Future (3-5 Years)

Take a young single copy, recently married and buying their first property. They have talked about having children and they both have parents who live interstate. When determining the number of bedrooms they NEED – they identify 3 – one for themselves – one for visitors and one for a nursery.

They want 4 – to have a spare room – just in case or to use as a storage room. Wants are more of an added benefit, but can be lived without. They can include things like a pool, a big deck or a garden shed, etc. These are things that you can add to the property over time and not necessarily required at the time of purchase.

It is also not uncommon to fall in love with a feature that you did not even have on your radar. A. beautiful sunny back garden that you fantasise about entertaining your friends in. Whilst this becomes important to you in the moment and something you ‘just have to have”, the reality is that you probably will not entertain that much, and that living with one bathroom and a small bedroom without sufficient wardrobe storage will be more frustrating than the back garden is pleasurable and the lure of the property will wear thin very quickly.

When determining your needs and wants – you will also need to factor in your budget. Setting a budget is crucial and a cornerstone of meeting your own criteria. Try not to get lured into viewing lots of properties outside of your budget – this will only aid in raising your own expectations and acting on impulse rather than sticking to your list of property criteria based on needs.

And remember – the property you buy doesn’t have to be perfect in every way. You can do wonders with improving the feel and style of a property with superficial improvements and a good selection of furnishings, etc.

So, ask yourself “Is this what I really NEED?”