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.