House Hunting: Must Haves vs. Nice to Haves

House Hunting: Must Haves vs. Nice to Haves

After 12+ years of living in our current house (our first house), we’re finally serious about looking for a new home. We recently sat down and talked about what items were on our must haves list vs. our nice to haves. For the most part, we agreed, which is certainly a step in the right direction.

House Hunting: Our Must Haves vs. Have to Haves

(photo credit: Dynasty Partners Homes)

We thought we’d live at our current house 5 years tops, and then we thought we would move before Carter was in school. Both of those things came and went, and we just had other priorities we were focusing our energy on at the time. Plus, we both dread the packing and moving process!

After starting to comment multiple times a week over the last year about “our next house will have this”, due to frustrations with our small kitchen, lack of storage, and general feelings that we’ve outgrown our house, we’ve decided to get serious about our hunt. We even went so far as renting a storage unit and started packing things up to prepare for showing our house better.

We sat down to business the other night and made a wish list for our house hunt, divided between our “Must Haves” and “Nice to Haves”. Here’s where we ended up…

Our Must Haves

  • 3 Car Garage
  • Large Open Kitchen with Island
  • Open Floor Plan
  • Walk in Pantry
  • Nice sized lot with good outdoor space – already finished or with potential.
  • 4 bedrooms
  • Space for 2 home offices – ideally a den and the other space could be in one of the bedrooms. Mine will be big enough for home office/craft room.
  • Master Bedroom with walk in closet and master bathroom.
  • Decent closet/storage space.

Our Nice to Haves

  • Finished basement or good space to be finished.
  • Laundry room not in the basement, preferably close to bedrooms.
  • Mudroom with ample storage.
  • Level driveway (we have quite an incline today).

Existing or New – We’re torn between this one. We love the established neighborhoods with trees like we live in now, but we’ve gone through the experience of having to be the ones to replace all the major things in this house like furnace, air conditioning, roof, windows, siding. We’d prefer to not repeat that again, but I think we would be open to a renovation if we could do it all at one time before moving in. That being said, I’m not sure we have the “vision” to do that. What I need is help from the Property Brothers or Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. If anyone knows someone in the Des Moines area who has the real estate AND construction services in one package, let me know! I can handle the decorating part. I’m actually wishing we would have bought a lot 5 years ago when prices were lower and we could find a more convenient location than we can now. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Our list will grow and change as we get into the process, I’m sure. I plan to share our journey along the way with my wish list and decorating ideas for the major rooms, as well as the house hunt and eventually, the moving process. It’s getting real people!

How about you, what are (or were) on your must haves list when home shopping or building?



  1. When we bought our house 14 years ago it was the 3 C’s ~ closets, counter space and I don’t even remember what the 3rd one was now ~ must have been very important at the time.Needs change and although these things would still be on my priority list I do have other things I would look for today.Knowing what you want and don’t want is half the battle ~ finding a place to fit the bill will be the challenge.Have fun with it! xo

  2. I once thought we would do that too. Now I get hives thinking about not being close to a grocery store! Hope you’re doing well.

  3. I’m almost glad we haven’t moved before this point. I think we’re much more sure about what we need for the long run. Now if we could only settle on a location!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *