Drafted By: Melissa Kubek.

This is a statement that was told to me repeatedly during my first year in real estate by many of the experienced REALTORS® and it quickly became a self fulfilling prophecy.  I remember spending hours upon hours, taking buyers in my vehicle and showing them every home available on the market. Somewhere between property #25 and 30, the buyer suddenly would change their mind and want something completely different from what we’d been looking at.  Weeks, sometimes months would go by without finding the right home because the buyer(s) would keep changing their mind about what they wanted…hence the statement “buyers are liars”.


There are many REALTORS® who still conform to this way of thinking, I however, am not one of them.  I soon came to realize that the term “buyers are liars” is false and ought to be replaced with “in lieu of professional real estate service, buyers will likely shoot in the dark until they stumble upon the right home for them, if they are lucky”.  When I shifted my thinking from ‘the buyer is to blame for this experience’, to ‘it is my responsibility to help guide my client & protect their interests”, it became very clear to me what I needed to do: I needed to ask the right questions.  How can I possibly help guide or protect the interests of another, when I don’t even know what they are.  Often the client at first doesn’t even know what they are.  I knew it was my job as a professional to help peel back the layers to uncover the true wants, needs & other motivating factors of my clients.  As soon as I started asking the right questions, my business improved drastically and my clients were happily finding their dream homes!

The first meeting I will have with a new client is usually either at my office, a coffee shop or their current home.  We’ll sit down together for approximately an hour and a half to discuss the buying process, answer their questions, discern between their wants & needs in their next home and equally as important, we’ll learn if we’re a good match to work together.  By having this in depth conversation upfront I can best prepare my client for the journey ahead, gain consensus on expectations and ensure I’m in the best possible position to deliver great service to my client.



Let’s now take a closer look about how to create your ‘wants & needs’ list and how to discern between the two.  All of those involved in making the purchase should create their own list.

Step 1. On a clean sheet of paper write out in list form everything you’d like to have in your next home.

Step 2. On a new sheet of paper draw a vertical line from top to bottom in the centre of the page.  Write Need on one side and Want on the other side. 

Step 3. Separate your ‘like to have list’ into either Needs or Wants.  What is the difference between the two?

 A NEED is a MUST HAVE & a potential DEAL BREAKER!

A WANT is a feature that would be great to have, but NOT a deal breaker.

For Example: a Need for one person could be having great gym & pool in the building and a deal breaker if these features are not in the building, where as these features may be a want, but not a deal breaker for someone else.  Become very clear here about your Must haves and would be nice to haves.

Your needs will form the baseline criteria for what your realtor will be searching for in your next home.  As such, you’ll want to ensure this need list is comprehensive, well thought-out, however not so detailed that your ‘perfect property’ will be near impossible to find.  

Step 4. Prioritize your wants list with the most important features at the top of the list.

Step 5. You now have your Wants and Needs lists, but there is one more step! Re-write your needs list on a clean sheet of paper and beside each need write out why this item/feature is a need for you to have in your next home. 

For Example:

          NEED                            WHY

1.4 bedrooms               3 as bedrooms & one as an office are or potential guest room

Knowing the ‘why’ behind the need allows your REALTOR® (and yourself) to better know what you’re looking for.
  Without knowing the ‘why’ in this case, the realtor may have only sought out homes with 4 bedrooms. However, these buyers only actually need 3 bedrooms to be used as bedrooms and therefore their realtor can broaden the search to also include 3 bedroom plus den homes or perhaps a 5 bedroom home to include both an office and guest room. 


The majority of my clients typically view only 5-7 homes before purchasing their perfect home!  By taking the time at the beginning of the home search process to establish a clear understanding of your wants and needs with your realtor, you’ll have a greater chance of finding that perfect home in less time and with less stress!