What do you do if you’re not finding the house of your dreams?
First, stop and remind yourself that there is no such thing as The Perfect House. Unless you have the financial ability to custom build your home from the ground up in the exact spot you want to be, you’re going to have to make some concessions. (Examples: Look just outside of your desired area, or in cities that are similar but farther out. Forgo the guest bedroom or office. Consider making updates later).
Second, make a list of everything you want in your dream home. Then, narrow it down to those items you absolutely could not live without. Next, prioritize those items in order of importance. As a general rule, if the home checks your top 3-5 boxes, it should be a strong contender.
Third, consider things you can’t change. Namely, location. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other locations to see if they might also have what you’re looking for. But if you have looked elsewhere and your heart is set on one area, stick to that, just be realistic.
Ultimately, it comes down to location vs. amenities as it relates to price. Which is more important to you? With a $500,000 budget, would you rather be in a 2BR condo in Arlington or a 3BR single family in Ashburn? Every person’s needs are different, and there will always be somewhere else that you can get “more for your money.” Figuring out where your happy medium lies will make your home search easier.