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By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

7 To-Dos to Make Your Dream Home Come True

In 1750, Samuel Johnson wrote that “to be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”  And there’s truth to this; for most Americans, our homes are our launch pads for being and doing our best in the world, and the places where we live out our most precious, private moments. So, if you follow our most important dreams to their logical conclusions, they almost all boil down to having a happy home, where we and our families can thrive and enjoy happy, secure lives.

Fortunately, dreams do come true - and dream homes can become reality. Here is a short list of musts for developing the vision, strategy, commitment and effort it will take to make your dream home your actual home.

1.  Know what a dream home is - and is not.  Like anything else in life, you can’t realize your dream home if you don’t know what it is - and isn’t, definitionally. For purposes of this conversation, our definition of a dream home is closely related to our aspirations and our visions in a couple of key ways. Aspirationally, dream homes take some work and effort to achieve - they aren’t usually handed to us on a silver platter.  

And our dream homes are related to our holistic visions for our lives, as well. By that I just mean that our dreams of home are less about owning a particular building, and more about creating a vision for our whole life as it will be impacted by our choice of home. We want a home that will allow our children to flourish, that is safely located, that allows us to personalize it and either does or doesn’t require much work, depending on our personal preferences. By the same token, our dream home is also one that doesn’t create problems for our lives or prevent us from doing the things we want and need to do.  

If a given home is beautiful, but owning it requires us to work overtime at a job we hate, causes relationship problems, or simply requires too much repair or work for the time and resources we have, then that home is - by definition - not our dream home.

Here are some other concepts of home that are often confused for dream homes, but don’ fit the bill. Your dream home should not be defined by:
  • the over-the-top fantasy mansion you saw on TV (if it’s bizarrely unattainable, in other words, it’s a fantasy home - not a dream home)
  • some antiquated notion of the biggest, flashiest home with the most amenities
  • the most expensive home you can afford
  • your mother’s, sister’s or best friend’s dream home.

Understanding what makes for a dream home - and what doesn’t - can help you avoid the common pitfalls of being upset when your dollar doesn’t stretch to get you a home like the one you saw on Million Dollar Listing, overextending yourself, or assuming that the types of homes your friends and relatives think are ideal for you are the same as your dream home. While they might overlap, they don’t always - and trying to fulfill someone else’s idea of what your dream home should be is the fastest way to create a nightmare home buying experience.

2.  Get and stay clear on your personal vision. There are various tools you can use to create a clear vision of your dream home, to avoid the above pitfalls. The most important of these is to sit in a still and quiet place and literally start writing down what you want your life to look like after you’re in the home of your dreams.

Don’t start with the technical characteristics of the building: you’ll get there soon enough, and the reality is that your co-buyer’s wants and needs, your budgetary limitations and the inventory available on your local market at the time will all impact the granular details of the property you end up with.

Instead, start with big picture life objectives, like who lives with you; what activities everyone does in the home that may require dedicated nooks, crannies, whole rooms or outbuildings; where and how much you work (at home? 3 towns away? around the clock?); how you get there and home every day; and what you do in your down time - be it hiking, home fixing, entertaining or strolling to the corner cafe.

3.  “Be stubborn on the vision and flexible on the details.”  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos delivered this one-liner in explaining his philosophy of creative problem-solving. And it applies just as powerfully to the creativity that is essential when hunting for your dream home. Compromise is unavoidable. Whether you’re spending $25,000 or $2.5 million on your next home, you will be required to compromise in order to reconcile your dream with your financials, the dreams of any co-buyers you have and realities of the real estate market, the inventory of available homes and geographic and other realities.

You may want a water view, but your wife wants to walk to the shops - and no home exists with both of those things. Or maybe you want to keep your payment below $2,500 per month, but you also want to buy a move-in ready home in The Best School District Ever. And all of those things are simply not possible with the down payment money you have in hand.

Bottom line: you’ll need to be somewhat flexible on the precise specs of the home you end up in as your ‘dream’ home - and the only way to do this is to ensure that you know what your whole-life vision is. Once you have your vision of life/home document ready,
then you can get granular about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square feet you need, as well as location specifics, brushing your absolute must-haves and absolute deal-breakers in the most minimalistic of strokes.

Adopting this Amazon-style ‘flexibility on the details’ empowers your experienced local agent/partner to suggest creative solutions for homes that will allow you to create the happy home life you’re trying to achieve, despite the circumstantial limitations.

In any event, hold onto your vision of life vis-a-vis your home journaling document for later. If you end up in contract on a home and have second thoughts, it’s a powerful document to revisit before you finalize the deal, to make sure the inevitable compromises haven’t completely wiped out all traces of the life you hoped to create in this dream home.

4.  Communicate your dream vividly to those who need to know.  A frequently expressed dilemma of wanna-be dream home buyers is that their agent is not showing them homes that fit the bill. In my experience, this issue often arises when buyers’ champagne tastes and beer budgets don’t align, and their agent is trying hard to show them the best they can afford, but it still disappoints.

To make sure that you are communicating your vision and dream to your agent with crystal clarity, consider doing some or all of the following:
  • Send your agent the Trulia listings for homes that reflect features of your dream home - or the whole enchilada, if you can find it.
  • Attend Open Houses and save flyers of homes months, even years, before you start house hunting in earnest, to share what you loved about them with your agent when the time is right.
  • Ask your agent to show you at least one home that reflects what they *think* you want in your dream home - regardless of price. You might be stunned and astonished at what your dream home really costs, but the experience can help you manage your own mindset, and expectations, back into the realm of reality.

5.  Mind your business.  Dreams may seem fluffy and soft, but the dream of a home is one which requires you to click into hard-core numbers mode in order to make things happen. Don’t fall into the trap of fixating on images of wainscoting and tree-lined streets until your money matters have been fully handled. I’m often surprised at how many buyers believe their dream home is just out of their financial reach, but have so much fat that can still be cut from their monthly budgets: money they spend on things they would say are much lower than their home on their priority list.

Sit down and comb through your existing spending patterns with a fine-tooth comb and ask yourself whether your fantasy football habit is truly more or less important than getting closer to affording the home of your dreams. Talk with a financial planner and your mortgage broker about putting an action plan in place to eliminate bills that are impacting your ability to afford and/or qualify for your target type of home. Get clear, in your own household and spending plan, on what you can truly afford to spend on housing every month, versus looking to your mortgage broker to tell you what you can afford.

Making your dream home come true involves some heavy duty bookkeeping and an intense commitment to managing your finances in a way that lines up with your values.

6.  Get uncomfortable. Being a grown-up is full of paradoxes, isn’t it? A few of my faves:
  • Living an easy life takes a lot of hard work.
  • With fashion and food, often less really is more.
  • I get younger and younger with every day that passes. (Humor me, please.)

Here’s one more to keep in mind as you pursue your dream home: creating a comfortable home might require you to do some uncomfortable things. Writing - and sticking to - a spending plan, is one. Reading eye-glazing contracts and hundreds of  pages of uber-boring HOA disclosures is another.  Having frank conversations with your partner, negotiating, managing your emotions around affordability and the like - there are loads of uncomfortable moments that take place in and around the process of buying your home.

These discomforts are temporary. But avoiding these uncomfortable moments can get you into some long-term un-dreamy drama: surprise HOA special assessments, a decade of living in a home you (or your partner) truly despises and years of living paycheck-to-paycheck from having overextended yourself are a few that come to mind.

So, dive on into being uncomfortable for this short period of time, with the knowledge that doing so will set you up for long-term success in your dream home.

7.  Know the difference between your vision for “this” dream home, and your long-term vision.  The home you buy now might not be your forever home. It’s essential that you feel comfortable with the prospect of staying put for at least 5-7 years before you buy, in most areas. But don’t feel like this home must have every feature you’ll ever want to have in a home. Especially if you’re buying your first home, the reality is that you’ll likely move up several times in your future, as your career, earnings and savings grow over time.

Also, if your ‘dream’ home features list is particularly aggressive and/or your budget is particularly tight for your area, you might have to exercise serious visionary powers to visualize how you can develop the home you can currently afford into your dream home over time. Focus on location, expandability, and these other characteristics of a hidden gem of a home, and find someplace that is livable right now, but has the potential, with your hard work, to become the home of your dreams down the road.

So tell us, have you scored your dream home? If you're still on the hunt, what's on your short list of features that makes a home your family's ideal?


By Linda Evans,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 10:09
More than two bathrooms. More counter space in kitchen. Closet doors that actually work. A nice back porch. Windows that actually open. Just to name a few things...
By Eileen Alps,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 10:39
You write great articles, Tara. I'm also inspired by your story. We JUST purchased our "dream home" on Tuesday!! (Of course we still need to sell our condo!). Our new home is a nice balance of "must-haves" & "could do without".
By isiskat47,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 10:41
My dream home? 2 1/2 bathrooms; 3 -4 bedrooms; a kitchen with lots of counter space but not too big that I can't cook in it ( I am disabled and many times have to sit to make things); an area to have a real table to have dinner at; a den to use as an office; wood or tile floors except in 2 of the bedrooms (so it is easy to clean up after I finish sewing) one floor; energy efficient!
Is that too much?
By Payel Sasmal,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 11:15
Nice article; I'm in search for mine :)
By Omer1955,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 11:21
My dream home vela in a big garden and pool (4 bedroom- kitchen- hall faced pool -salloon
By Mary Gaskin,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 11:50
Well my dream home is a 6 bedroom house,with 2 !/2 bathrooms,formal dining,formal living room,office,separate eat in kitchen,finished full basement,huge front and back yards....
By lynbir1,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 12:33
found our dream home (although there were a few things upon inspection that needed fixing), what we could not fix was the HOA dog limit of 2 :-(
By Beverly.shorter,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 12:40
my dream house is just like the other person that is disable so am i .But with my income i got to keep saving what i want is on the market now and has been there for 8 or 9 months.169,900 that's why it's still on the market. 4bdrm and 2btrm. with lot of room. annie
By Barbara Murphy,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 12:44
Excellent list for thought, Tara! When working with Buyers, I start with the generics of location and price, but really enjoy "being on the same page" as we narrow down the "must-haves" vs. "nice-to-haves". Of course, it really helps that my husband is a FL state licensed General Contractor,Roofing Contractor, and Certified Lead Based Paint, Mold Remediator and Restoration Contractor. That way, should my buyers find that "almost-perfect" home, we can readily know what it will take to make it the "perfect" home, and get it done for them. In the Pensacola-Gulf Breeze-Pace-Milton area of the Northwest Florida panhandle, there are many lovely sites available, but some are occupied by homes that are really ready for a facelift! :)

Barbara Murphy, Broker, Tartan Properties
By Jena Harris,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 12:58
Tara, Thank you for your piece on finding a "dream home". It's a process and no steps should be skipped or someone will be unhappy. I appreciate your insight. I found my dream home 3 years ago and in the process learned much of what you've identified in your piece. Negotiating with your partner is a big step that can't be avoided. My home has good bones with loads of potential, gracious sized rooms, an open floor plan, some acreage, and is in a semi-rural setting. Loving my new digs!
By Helen Oliveri,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 13:03
Great tips Tara.
By Christine.parker67,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 13:12
Hi Tara...been reading your articles for a couple of months...thank you for your expertise!! Our dream home was on the market for 18 months with a couple of reductions..needless to say it went down enough to look at it...my husband and I walked out on cloud 9!! Put our house on market immediately...3 months later our dream home was taken off the market. They decided not to sell...we still compare every home to that one a year later. We love the house we have been living in for 13 years..we would love a 1st floor office and formal dining room. Wish us luck...thanks!!
By Lavar Campbell,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 13:37
Great article Tara. The one thing many people forget is that the "Dream Home" is something that they have to work up to. For most people it is their 5th or 6th home before they are able to acquire what they would consider their "Dream Home". As I have worked with buyers over the years, many of them looking at their 1st or 2nd or 3rd home, they think they are supposed to be able to find their "dream Home" right away. I have found that by setting the expectation of the time, effort and sacrifice it takes most people to get there, they are more willing to look at homes that may have some of the things required but not all because most of the time what they have in their heads don't exist in the real world in the price range they can afford. Once my clients understand that it is a process it becomes much easier and they are much happier. Mindset is the key.

Lavar Campbell
Associate Broker/Realtor
Keller Williams Utah Realtors
By Musiclady420,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 13:40
Our fantasy home would be on ten acres with horse stalls. A fenced in back yard for our dogs, flight cage for our macaws, a pond, a pool, 3-4 bedrooms, a finished basement, and a 3 car garage.
But, we haven't got our credit quite there yet and we live close to Chicago so our dream home is a little different and we are settling for a house further South, we don't mind the drive. We found a perfect place down in Wilmington, IL at a place called Shadow Lakes. Thought we wouldn't like a gated community but we have already been in there a couple of times because our friend has a vacation trailer there. It is nice there are both year-round and summer homes there. We found one that will hopefully suit our needs. It is 3 bedrooms and a den, Has a walk-out porch off the master, a 4 season room below the porch, 150 feet of waterfront property with a private beach, a boatdock, enough room to build a garage(most of these unit don't have a need for one since they are vacation properties), natural gas(way cheaper than propane), and a huge deck! It is cuerrently just out of price range but is has dropped due to the fact it has been on the market for over a year now and no one is buyer down there. All the jobs down there have pretty much dried up. But it is still not that far from our jobs. So, we have a longer commute which we have already driven to both our jobs during rush hour and it is not so bad. We are willing to make that sacrifice.
It has been articles like this one that made us realize that we could not afford our fantasy home but we can still come close with our dream home.
By Tjca,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 14:09
Somewhere safe for disabled spouse and myself in Burke County area w/ 3/2, level 1 acre lot, big kitchen, open floor plan. Currently in unsafe OLD house.
By Yvonne John,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 14:51
I am waiting to get enough money for down payment before i can make my move. would really like to own my own home somewhere in Goldsmith Ave in Newark NJ 07112 between Park Ae and Pomona since it is closer to the hospital.
By Msjatika,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 15:22
My dream house is an old raggedy two-story Victorian near town, that has good bones and need a lot of cosmetic work.
By maritaake,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 16:26
Waterfront(on the creek) in Sargent Tx. 1 story, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, with a spacious kitchen with plenty of room for cooking and friends. It's there...just have to find the way to be able to afford it. Both DH and I enjoy fishing, boating, and hosting friends. Needs some work and priced a little higher than what I am willing to pay. If it's to be, the financing will happen and the house will still be on the market! Cross your fingers! It's s wonderful place to retire!!!
By Darrell Caraway Architect AIA,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 16:27
If any one or all of you would take the time to tell an architect about these things I think it would make a huge difference in a life to have these things on purpose instead of trying to find an existing set of conditions to match your expectations even though prices are as low as can be thought of right now. When you step back, say you get a bargain, you will still ask yourself. What if I'd have built the dream home using me as the Architect. I'm surprised how many are not using an architect these days and going with the realtor to solve the dilemma.
By frances.harrison99,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 16:37
Got my 2 story Victorian ten years ago. 100 years old, but the cosmetics are done, it's near town, and was my dream home. But, sidewalk only across the street, and last year drug dealers with violent mental issues and tethered dogs moved in nextdoor. A dream has turned into a nightmare.
Today, dog barked from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. without attention, and constant barking..grrrrrrrr!!!
By Rose Hammond,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 16:51
Excellent article. After 24 years selling real estate the points in this article are "right on". Too many peole think bigger,and better will make them happier. Only YOU can make yourself happy regardless. Living nicely in a home you love certainly helps.
By Amanda King,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 17:35
I already found a wonderful home that I am having built from the ground up. However, it would have been my second choice of the two homes I looked at. I turned down the first home because of the location and the neighborhood did not have any curb appeal to be in a nearly finished new community. No community entrance wall, not cement curbs or gutters. Just not my cup of tea; however, the home was over 3000 square feet and had everything blessed thing I wanted, but the neighborhood was a huge turnoff. The home we have settled on will be our third home we will have owned, and it has large kitchen with island, stainless steel appliances, sitting room with fireplace in master suite, tiled tub and shower surround, nice new upcoming neighborhood, has great curb appeal. Did I mention it has a club house and pool. I could live here for at least a long time.
By George Grayson,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 17:47
Selling a home is not a science, just common sense. Please stop making it into a quack science of dreams and highly subjective talking points. In ten years, the granite counter tops will be outdated or worn and the carpet will stink. An honest seller will know the inherent worth of a property and say what is right and what may be wrong about it. The buyer will like the property as it is or not. Agree on a price, go to a real estate attorney to draw up the contract and it's done.
By judymtiffany,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 18:08
My home would be 2 or 3 bedrooms 1 or 2 baths a shower for easy use many be a bath tub A kitchen with counter space and room for a wheelchair.No carpets and a open plan with room to store wheel chair walkers and a yard for a small raised garden in town. This is my dream home where I can cook and set up my sewing room with room for my mothers hospital bed and easy for her to get around.
By Itsnotme1207,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 18:21
after i sell my home i'm looking to move to the next smaller town over and into the country. looking for atleast 2 acres or more with 3/2 + some small flex room for an office. i've been looking and haven't found anything that is a better deal for what i'm looking for than if i just had it built. i'm not asking for alot, but when people are selling OLD dirty run down homes for the same or about the same as a brand new i can have built it's just crazy. i don't understand why people think that their home that's 20+ years is worth just as much as a brand new one??!! my home is 5 years old and i'm asking 7k less than the builder charged. i'm listed for 139,900 and alot of homes around me are too but i'm around 200-300 more sq ft than they are, so more bang for the buck. also alot of these people lie on their listings. i've went to the county tax website and find that alot of people add 50-100 sqft onto their listing (and sometimes much more) in my neighborhood. very dishonest!! and like i wouldn't find out! do they not think that something will look odd when a buyer goes to their house that's stated as 1650 sqft and it looks smaller than mine, which mine is 1641 sqft, esp when it's the exact same house plan??
By Ted Mckenzie,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 18:22
my dream home would be a four bed room, small but not small back yard, two bath rooms big kitchen where wheel chair can go , his and her closet nice master bath big master bed room, and in agood area. if i can get that under a hundred thousand, that would nice. and a beautiful front yard
By Betsy,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 18:27
once told that I wanted to buy a yard and not a house -- but a yard is very important to us for our doggies -- that along with a sun room with radiant heated floor -- generally natural light throughout -- know that I have found my dream house if that rancher has basket ball hoop set up -- no sidewalk, flat lot, public water, public sewer -- affordable both for the property and real estate taxes -- am I really asking for so much
By Betsy,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 18:30
in reading Rose's comment -- can someone please tell me in my area why most builders and contractors will only (i) build homes in excess of 3,000 square feet or (ii) not discuss a rancher (instead giving a response that an elevator can be installed)
By Kenichi O.,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 20:04
My dream home has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. Skylight in kitchen and bathroom, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, recessed lighting,fireplace, and hardwood floors and a den and spacious.
By Amanda,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 20:48
George Grayson, did you even read the article? It wasn't about selling, or even about buying, it was about realistically choosing what it is you want to buy. Nowhere did it say anything about granite countertops or stinky carpets. Please stop commenting about the "quack science" in articles you haven't actually read.
By Marcialbernal,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 21:38
Thank you for the advice, my dream place it has to be close to the beach, small cottage 2 bed. big windos, nice and cosy, lots of charm, pretty, clean and ready for me to paint it in my colors and decorated in my way, small kitchen, big bathrom, porch and parking, where I can smell the wind and ocean....I keep saving buhuuuu!
By cynthia_monie,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 22:31
Thank You! This was EXCELLENT advice. My Dream home is a Newer Ranch with an open floor plan, gourmet kitchen, Huge Master Bedroom Suite, Master Bath to have a gardent tub and stand up shower. A formal dinning room, home office or stud and a full finished basement.
By Jenelle Barrett,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 23:10
My dream home would be just to be able to even afford to buy a house in the first place!! We currently own a 1 bedroom condo and would like more room to grow. I would like a well-maintained 3 bedroom (1200-1400 square feet) or 4 bedroom house that is at least 1400-1600 square feet that has some character with modern touches!! Curb appeal would be ideal. My "fanasty" home is a Spanish style with stucco walls or a Modern new home! I have always liked rounded driveways but straight driveways are good too. I LOVE LOVE the way those peach, orange or multi-colored tiled roofs look! I like built-in shelves and rounded archways from room to room with an open floorplan that has laminate or hard wood flooring throughout. I do not want any carpet in the house. My Husband and I really like warm earthy tones! I told myself though if we buy a house, I want to do some rooms with bold color, ie. red or burnt orange. It would be nice to have a bonus or Florida room for extra space to do what we want with (maybe a pool table)! My Husband would definately like a screened porch so we can relax and read a book while looking at nature. A Bay Window would be really nice to have but not a necessity. We want double sinks in our room and an extra bathroom for guests. I LOVE when a house comes with at least 2 bathrooms and an extra half bath would be awesome for guests! We have a really nice sized kitchen now and most houses I have seen have a much smaller kitchen than our condo. My dream is to have an open kitchen with an Island that at least 2 people could be comfortably be in at a time because we like to be in the kitchen together. We like dark, brown or oak cabinets with a stainless steel or black double fridge. We have to have a pantry, dishwasher and garbage disposal! We would like a formal or open dining area off the kitchen that would fit a decent sized dining table. An eat-in space or breakfast bar would be ideal too!! :) We want the kitchen to face the living room so we can entertain or talk to our guests and family. The living room would be warm and cozy and would have to fit a sectional couch. A fire place would look nice but is not a necessity. We are looking foward to having our OWN laundry room, preferably inside! A screened pool would be an absolute dream!! We don't really like a big backyard, just big enough to have a pool and enough grass for a little dog to go in. It would be nice to have a little area for a fire pit or gazebo if we did not get a screened in pool area. A "Fantasy" backyard would be to have a outside covered kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Atleast a 1 car garage is essential for storage means. A "fantasy" yard would be to have Tuft (fake but looks real) grass so we wouldn't have to mow the lawn. lol. We want a BIG Master bedroom with a walk-in closet. It would be a "fanasty" to have a nice sized on-suite bathroom with his and hers sinks that has a separate 2 person walk-in shower with double rain shower heads and a big claw foot or garden tub! We feel blessed to have a big bedroom now and I love it! Our bedroom now could fit 2 queen or king size beds in it plus has room for a dresser and a bookcase and even walking space. We would love to have an extra room just big enough to have an exercise room set up. The equipment would be facing a mirrored wall and the corner would have one of those tv's that are hanging in the corner with an attached dvd to watch exercise videos, etc. My Husband and I have dreams, BIG DREAMS that with God's grace we will someday make a reality!!
By Ladyjb,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 23:12
My dream home is 3 bedrooms with lots of closets space... Walk in closets preferable at least in the master. One room as my bedroom, one as my office and the last as a guest room. At least two bathrooms with one bath having a large tub and a separate granite shower with glass doors like my hotel room at the Aria Las Vegas. Id like hardwood flooring in the living room. Also important is a garage to park and store boxes. Area is definitely key. It has to be nice and 15 min from the beach.
By Brendaidehen21,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 01:26
A home in my Dream ? Oh ! It makes me smile when thinking of this':) ....hoping & praying that I can have also that "Great Home" in my Dream somehow in the future. I am happy to live even in simple, comfortable "HOME" with at least 4 bed rooms. 1 for my Precious Daughter':) , 1 for my THREE Precious sons----a little bit larger / spacious than of my Daughter's, and 1 for me & my Dearest here on earth & esp in Heaven':) and 1 for the "Study Room" where I can place my favorite books, writings & some with sentimental values collections. And where I can stay when I want to write or to be alone thinking. And----a spacious living room where I can display some awesome things. Simple Comfort / bath Room, Kitchen with sinks & dining Room are very much appreciated. And And I also like an extension of it as an another cute building where I can Have at least teach those who wanted for private / one on one tutoring----probably as my office also':) and with an spacious landscape where I can plant many wonderful plants with small pond for some Fishes and ducks or swans & Hens or roosters':) esp. I like also a cozy Play ground with cottage , slides, see-saw, etc. -and carpeted with bermuda or carabao grasses. That's it po. Thanks for All your offres & inspiring Homes you posted here. I am Praying to have that somehow in the future':)
By Bettie Giles,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 02:52
do you have any rent to own peoperties?
By Christine.parker67,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 03:41
In response to Darrell Caraway, AIA...we live in a suburb of New York, about an hour and half south of ghe city, real estate is pretty high in the good neighborhoods. We bought a 2 bedroom 1 bath ranch(1949built) has a great yard and very long driveway and garage.bought 13 years ago..did what we call a "roof raise" added another 1,000 square feet with architects help..we designed the house (dutch colonial) and the rooms...its a newer home that looks like an older home...lots of moldings and tons of charm...with the stainless steel appliances, granite in kitchen, wood floors, etc. We are looking to mive because we would like a couple of extra rooms...can't find a home in the next state down ..thought of buying property (1/2 to 1 acre) the cost is at least $500,000!!! Would love to build our dream home, but if we could sell our house now in the upper 6' s, how is building a house possible?
By Barb Mihalik,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 05:07
After 5 months of helping my buyer try to find his dream home, we finally found it. It took lots of discussions and showings and many disappointments along with a healthy dose of what he could truly be comfortable spending (notice I didn't say afford). Interestingly enough, his ideals for a dream home changed 360 degrees from what he originally thought he wanted after months of searching. But this was the one and only house we walked into where he actually said, "I love it and I want it." We're closing in 2 weeks and we're both thrilled.
By Lowkeytow,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 05:54
We sold our dream home and have found another in our new state. We compromised on the location as related to how close to my office but exceeded on size and style. Will have a 25 minute drive each way to and from work compared to our last home which had a 10 minute drive to and from. Wont be going home for lunch each day so gas costs will remain similar but will miss that part of my day. A positive to this is that I was able to sell (to my boss) going in to the office earlier and leaving earlier due to traffic and only taking 1/2 hr lunch which gets me home earlier.

I guess as I read what I am writing it could be said that even negatives can have a possitive overall outcome. We created a list of the pro's and con's of each location and home we looked at and this helped us greatly with our decision.

We are lucky with our new home and it has practically everything we wanted. The details are not necessary for this post.

As to some just owning any home is a dream so be thankful for what you have and understand that there is always someone who has less and would be thankfull for what you may be taking for granted.
By JIM TURANO,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 06:19
Dear Zoe Sharrona, I do not know how many years of experience you have as a Realtor, nor do I let anyone ruffle my feathers sir! I have 33 years of experience as a Broker, have more letters of accommodations, acknowledgement, on GOOGLE than any Broker in New York State. In addition, I have been interviewed by newspaper reporters, spoke recently on Radio and have been offered to be on Public Broadcasting Channel as of last night. I have won many Community awards in three decades, and have lectured at many events in and around the area I do Business in. My Reputation and Community activities, has put food on the table for many, and I raised enough money to send 12 kids with Muscular Dystrophy to camp for a summer, and also give their parents a break.
You probably weren't born when I was in the jungles of Viet Nam in 1968, but let me conclude Zoe with your statement of my posting being drivel? Congratulations for becoming a standout for all to read on TRULIA, how as a person you are so full of yourself, and your opinion is your right but your demise as a human being. Try and have a good day, posting negativity creates more negativity in your day and your life, but you must be used to it anyway!
By Lowkeytow,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 06:41
Mr Jim Turano,

It is possible that Zoe's remarks were more of a comment on the fact that the blog was on......

"So tell us, have you scored your dream home? If you're still on the hunt, what's on your short list of features that makes a home your family's ideal?"

I too was discouraged by your post..................
By Chris Carter, MORTGAGE LENDER,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 07:32
I think the overall theme here is - be realistic, especially with yourself and your wife/husband/partner. And in the immortal words of The Talking Heads, circa 1978..."Watch out, you might get what you're after!"
By Cynthia Howard,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 07:54
My dream home to be as far away from non stop barking dogs, and rude loud neighbors..
By wyomingsunset,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 08:07
Dear Jim, I appreciated your comments. We are preparing to sell our home and move to another state for "pre-retirement." Thank you for the information.

This article was about "dreams" but points five and six deal with number crunching realities. Taxes and floundering economies play such an important role in the biggest expense in our lives.

I read every comment on the Trulia articles. What an education - to learn of what works and what doesn't in home buying and selling, the individual needs and wants of buyers and sellers, regional perks and problems and professional advice from realtors and architects.
By JIM TURANO,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 09:54
Wyomingsunset- Thinking of selling and moving out of State? First, if you sell where you live what will get? According to your profile, Crane MO the homes average from $79k to $229k. Next, you need to find by googling or through friends who live out of State to get opinions. If you need employment that is an important factor to. Between closing costs and buying all cash is one thing but attaining a mortgage and incurring closing costs again is another expense factor. Please review and investigate thoroughly before doing anything!
By Debbiemoore1106,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 11:46
i found me a house.here is tha address 260 fourth way dr. crossroads,tn 37397.it is $41,500 it is a bank repo.Century 21 Cumberland has it .i talk to Amanda Matthews.phone number 423-942-6000 or 423-240-4974 cell.is there any way you can help us get it. my phone number is 423-658-6191.thank you debbie moore
By Debbiemoore1106,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 11:48
please try to help me
By Christine.parker67,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 16:56
True..owning a home is a dream in itself..i grew up in 2 houses...married..lived in 2 apartments before ex left me penniless with 2 children..thank god for my parents...lived with them for 4 years..met my husband...1 week before our wedding we put a binder on " our house"! As small as it was..it was ours and could never been any happier!
By nfltetas,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 21:15
Wow. It seems to me like a lot of people have a lot of [unrelated to the article and query] stuff to say - LOL! I just want to say, I read your articles every time they're posted, Tara and, while I generally enjoy them all, this one, to me, is the best you've written! Your points are well-taken - I think you've given excellent advice here, and I hope folks will take serious note. We recently purchased our 'dream home' - vs. our 'fantasy home', and couldn't be happier. Wek new the minute we walked in that it was 'comfortable' for us, and at the same time saw the potential to 'make it our own' with future renos - while we satisfied our 'needs' immediately, we'll be able to have our 'wants' in time, and we kept it stress-free, in terms of $$, commutes (we live in LA, after all!), timeline for improvements - everything. Doing a lot of 'shopping' online DEFINITELY helped prepare us to make a decision quickly - we were fairly knowledgeable about comps, and actually found the listing ourselves. Our agent (whom we adore!) made it happen, and here we are! Can't wait to read your next article, Tara - thanks!
By Itsnotme1207,  Fri Sep 28 2012, 21:49
i too read through every articule and everyone who responds. i can find somthing helpful in probably 99% of every post people make here and come back every day for a week or more to see if anyone says something new. i thought alot of what JIM TURANO said was good/ helpful as well. Tara's articules are great and are always helpful to me since i'm selling and buying (soon i hope!) my i bought my dream home 2 years ago. my dreams and needs have changed so much in 2 years since becoming a sahm with an expanding family and my husband working remotely for an out of state company as well starting his own business. i have a wonderful home for sale though that sounds like it matches alot of posters idea of a dream home.
By Golden Viloria,  Sat Sep 29 2012, 10:05
This is interesting.
By Mary Ngati,  Sat Sep 29 2012, 14:11
A very well thought of article Tara. Thank you.
By JIM TURANO,  Mon Oct 1 2012, 05:51
OCT.1 st. 2012-In general, many people should be thankful for what they have. Whether it is currently an apartment or a small home. Money can not and never will buy 'Happiness'. And your Health and Well being is more important than anything. Expectations sometimes are all to set by Society and up bringing. We tend to over spend on many things.
Typically a couple walks in my office looking for a home to buy, and tell me all the requirements of what they want and need. If they have the proper down payment, and the banks closing costs to attain a mortgage, they are indeed fortunate. However, they sometimes fail to tell you until later, when the bank denies them that they are over extended on debt.
Example: Car payments, lease car payments, maxed out credit cards, and bad credit scores due to these items. In America everyone at one time or another over extend ourselves. We work hard and want that T.V., or that vacation, or a wardrobe of clothes, and during the Holidays throw it on the CHARGE CARD attitude.
We need to go back to basics. Set goals, have priorities, and make that sacrifice now before it becomes too late. Positive attitudes, and not live above your means.
if you are trying to buy a home and have the down payment plus closing costs, buy affordable homes.
Those that rent apartments but do not have the down payments and closing costs, at this time, be patient. For those of you who's parents own a home, and no mortgage or very little left, look into a REVERSE MORTGAGE FOR THEM. Better than a Home equity loan, in my opinion.
The creation of a Life Estate Deed should be looked into to. Options of Reverse Mortgages are plenty. And you can use part of your inheritance now while you can get a low low mortgage rate to purchase a home.
Final Note: Homes have pretty much have hit bottom, mortgage rates to buy are at a all time low.
Rents keep going up as Landlords pass their rising expenses such as taxes, heat, water, & Insurance to you. Where there is a will there is a way. Many of you are not aware of the many options there is today that is out there, available, and to problem solve your personal situations.
Do not give up Faith!
Rather continue to wish for, pray for and always go Forward!
By KRISTYM4856,  Tue Oct 2 2012, 20:39
By Realtypin,  Mon Oct 8 2012, 12:32
Thanks Tara for that piece of information my Dream house would be one with a big kitchen space, More than 2 bathrooms, walk in wardrobe and the dream continues.....on and on.
By opondomusa,  Tue Oct 9 2012, 00:41
Very deep stuff here.I like the being stubborn on the vision and flexible on the details.What i understand from this is that you will not get your dream home as a finished product but may need to settle for lesser( raw material )and process it to your ideal home.
By Justin Hagan, GRI,  Wed Oct 10 2012, 14:35
Excellent artcle. This is a to-do list that would make any buyer face the facts.

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