We hear it all the time. Do you need it or want it? It’s very fluid and can change given any new circumstance that life brings. When searching for a home, how many bedrooms is the correct number, is one-floor living critical, or are stairs no problem? Let’s look at a few ways to determine needs versus wants when searching for a home.  


In our constantly changing, high-tech world, a good rule of thumb is one sleeping room for each person. A sleeping room can be a den, office, or extra living space. So, the more important question is how many ‘extra’ sleeping spaces are available. For example, if you suddenly had to work from home, is there the space to set up an office? A good thing to also consider is the potential trajectory of your family. Will you have more children? Are you a godparent, grandparent, or soon-to-be empty-nester?  


Most three-bedroom homes will have two bathrooms, a full bathroom, an extra ‘water closet,’ or a half bath. While small families can get away with fewer bathrooms, more bathrooms are generally a want rather than a need. An old, historic home built before 1900 is likely to have one bathroom, regardless of having four or five bedrooms.  


Often considered the heart of the home, a kitchen right for your family is a critical factor in your home search. If homemade meals and holiday gatherings are a constant or regular occurrence, a kitchen will need plenty of cabinet space, perhaps an island for food prep, and a pantry. Those who do little cooking and generally go somewhere for a holiday need a simpler kitchen, for which most galley style or 50s to 80s era kitchens will suffice. 

One-Level or Multiple 

In some areas of the country, it can be challenging to find multi-level homes; however, it can be more challenging to find a one-level home where they do exist. The primary consideration and thought process here should center around the mobility of family members. If you have very young children and are concerned about falls, is there a way to secure the bottom and top of the staircases? One reason to stick with multi-level is the smaller footprint and cost-effectiveness when it comes to a new roof.  

Other Considerations 

There are many other choices and options for searching for a home, from systems like air conditioning, heat pump, and fireplace to a mudroom, first-level laundry, and ample storage. When it all comes down to the nitty-gritty, take a few minutes to envision life in the home you are considering. Does it feel comfortable and homey, or do you mind go straight to something about the house that is a deal-breaker? Sometimes it can be love at first sight. Other times it may take a second visit to make a final decision.