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The process of buying a home can seem complicated. There are so many things to consider and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. To help you remember all the details and get the most out of the process, it’s a good idea to start with a list. Write down your ‘must haves’ so you know what your priorities are. Buying a home is an emotional process and sometimes it’s easy to fall in love with a particular house feature or style, forgetting about what you originally decided you needed to suit your lifestyle and budget. Your ‘must haves’ may include things like number of bedrooms, good natural light, separate play area for the kids and a breezy, open feel. Next write down your ‘wish list’. Your ‘wish list’ should include extras that would be of great value or use to you, like shaded alfresco dining with good sunlight in winter, granite bench tops, solar hot water or a rainwater tank.

There are many places you can go for information and ideas, including home magazines, websites, display villages and home ideas centers. Talk to friends and learn from their experiences—what do they love about their home, and what would they change? Thinking through what you want first makes it much easier once you start talking to sales people and builders. Your lists can help you to prioritize what you really need, while staying within your budget. They can also be really useful when you’re talking with your builder.

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