Like building a great product, buying your dream house takes time. I’m a new Bay Area homeowner, and it took a long, involved process to get there. As a product designer, I see the similarities between buying a house and building a product. Here’s a break down of how I applied design thinking to my home buying process.
1. What’s Your Dream Home and Why Do You Need One?
You get excited about buying a home, I know. But first, let’s step back and understand the goals and needs, identify the house you want to buy.
What are your needs, finances and tastes? What type of house do you want to buy?
- Understand your goals
For me, it is to own a house in the Bay Area where I can call it home, and stop paying a ridiculous amount of rent to a landlord.
- Define your house’s location
This is as important as picking a good house.
- Define your house’s profile
It includes size, style, price, floor plan, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, neighborhoods, transportation, school districts (maybe hazard zones for California residences).
- Establish your top priorities
Given all the choices you may have, it’s essential to establish your top priorities in advance and stick to them. Otherwise you might be talked into buying the wrong house.
- Nice to have features
Once you established your top priorities, you may think about what you’d like to have but isn’t crucial to your decision of whether to buy. (Examples include patio or backyard; unfinished basement or converted in-law unit.)
You’ll also need to identify the deal-breakers that will absolutely stop you from buying. It could be things you hate, such as high crime or zero pubic transportation district.