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Assessing Your Needs Vs. Your Wants

Right At Home Daily: Making It Right: Home Improvement Basics
Assessing Your Needs vs. Your Wants

By Lisa Skolnik for Right at Home Daily

Your home should be comfortable, nurturing and aesthetically pleasing.

But most importantly, it should meet all of your needs by providing the right kind of spaces for a broad and evolving range of activities, including adequately housing all family members by accommodating their physical needs (such as bathing, sleeping, exercising and eating) and personal possessions, and supplying the necessary space for daily activities, be it working, relaxing or entertaining.

To figure out how your needs and wants will be met by a prospective home, make a list of everything you need to have in terms of space, size, location and amenities, plus a few things you'd like to have if you could afford it.

Here's how to determine its strengths and weaknesses of a particular home and determine what's missing.

Start by looking at the overall layout.


  • Are noisy activity areas located away from rooms where quiet is essential? Are there washrooms on the main and lower levels, and an acceptable bathroom-to-bedroom ratio?
  • Are there buffer areas at entrances that offer privacy from the outside and keep seasonally cooled and heated air inside? Are related rooms located near each other, such as the dining room and kitchen?

Next, assess the traffic patterns.


  • Walk through your house, imagining yourself doing daily chores. Can you move from room to room without any obstructions? Can you access most rooms without walking through several others? Do high-use rooms, such as the kitchen, have several entries?
  • Hallways and doors should be wide enough to accommodate furniture when moving in, and at least two family members passing through at the same time.

Third, look at the size and shape of each room and think about how they will work for each family member.


  • Is the kitchen efficiently configured? Does it have enough storage, eating and working space? Are the formal spaces, causal areas and bedrooms large enough? Do they have enough storage space? Don't forget to think about the basement as a future living space, the garage (particularly if you're parking two cars and a lawn tractor inside), and the garden.
  • While you can renovate most old houses to suit today's needs, that can be expensive. But whatever the price, if a home doesn't meet your needs, and a few of your wants, it probably isn't going to work for you in the long run.

1. To assess your home, get out a pen and paper and make a good, old-fashioned list that takes its assets and deficits into account.

2. Consider where the noisy activity areas are located in relationship to quiet-time rooms. Imagine all the tasks and activities you need to accomplish every day and how loud each room will be if another person is doing something in the room next door.

3. If you're buying in a condo or co-op, and you're extremely sensitive to noise, consider buying on the top floor, or purchase a single family home instead.

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