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Finding the Perfect Home: Use a Worksheet

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The Simple Dollar's search for a home has lead him to create a worksheet. This is a fantastic idea. If you are going to look at a lot of homes you need to keep some kind of written record to keep your thoughts straight. This written record can also help you organize your thoughts.

I took the concept the extreme when I looked to buy my condo 3 years ago. Instead of using a word processing program that The Simple Dollar recommends, I fired up my favorite spreadsheet program (Microsoft Excel in this case). I created a number of categories on the Y axis such as location, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, square footage, distance to public transportation, condition and quality of the bedrooms and kitchen, and amenities (laundry, gym, pool, covered parking, etc.). I put a numerical value against each feature to measure how important it is to me. Across the X axis I would weigh each of the condos that I looked at. This gave me a way to quantify exactly how valuable a place was to me.

I took it one step further and made that numerical number a cash value. By the time I had refined the cash values for my area, I had a measuring stick for every place that I looked at. I don't recommend making it your only measuring stick, but I found it invaluable in my home search. The only negative I can come up with was that your real estate agent will look at you funny (as mine did). It's a small price to pay for finding the home of your dreams.

Posted on May 28, 2007.

This post deals with: ... and focuses on:

Real Estate

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3 Responses to “Finding the Perfect Home: Use a Worksheet”

  1. Susanna says:

    Wow, you were very methodical about your condo search!

    We just bought a new house (the closing is today!). Our house-buying worksheet was a lot simpler than either yours or Trent’s. We just made a list with 2 columns: must-haves and deal-breakers. Then we went online and found houses that matched all those criteria in our price range in the area where we wanted to live. We came up with 4 houses we wanted to look at and called up a realtor to show them to us.

    We only had to spend one day looking at houses: one of those four was the one we’re buying. And really, it came down to details that weren’t even on the list. But that’s why you go and see them in person.

  2. dong says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more on being methodical on doing a house search. Buying a house can be so emotional for that reason i think it’s important to give yourself a framework to remove yourself from the emotions just a bit. The other nice thing about having a good spreadsheet is then really understanding the market and knowing what you should be paying…

  3. KMull says:

    We’re doing the exact same thing right now as we look at houses. We haven’t assigned numerical values to each yet, but we have a spreadsheet with things to ask, what the house has listed, price, septic or sewer, etc.

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