Interiors + Decor

Why Chasing the Perfect Dream Home Might Not Be So Dreamy After All

By DeAndrea Douglas
suburban home

When you’re dreaming about getting a home or actively looking for one, you’re most likely thinking about ways to make it feel cozy, right? You’re dreaming of how you can make it feel like the interiors you see on Pinterest. Everyone has a dream home, and in their own right, everyone should live in their dream home, but the reality is that it’s not exactly always possible. 

So, here’s a bit of friendly advice: if you’re in the market for a new home, clinging too tightly to that perfect dream might not be the best approach. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but it’s true. What might be your dream home today might not be your dream home tomorrow or even years down the line. It’s not that you shouldn’t follow your dreams and buy the house you’re dreaming of, but you should consider more than simply getting to the closing table when making such a significant purchase. These are a few of the things that helped The Mister™ and me keep a clear head and buy the best house for us.

Perfection is Pricey

First things first, the ‘perfect’ home, with all its ideal features and prime location, often comes with a steep price tag. We would have loved to be in a suburb that was already built up or located closer to the city, but our budget had a very clear ceiling. Budgets, sadly, aren’t limitless, and homes that tick every single box are often the most sought after (read: expensive). Even a house in a less-than-prime location that has all of the bells and whistles most buyers are looking for will still be expensive. So, that’s exactly why sticking rigidly to a dream list can mean blowing past your budget, which might set you up for financial stress down the line. You don’t want to be house poor where all of your income is going toward paying your mortgage and bills. You’ll be a homeowner so you need to contribute to a savings account. In life there will always be problems that money can solve. You want to make sure you have the money to solve them when they arise.

You can even talk to a real estate agent who specializes in finding the right house for their buyers, and they’re going to be blunt with you when a home you want is our of your reach. At least the good ones will do that.

Every Home is a Compromise

Ask any homeowner, and they’ll tell you no home is perfect. I say our current home is perfect for us all the time, but I’d also like the secondary bedrooms to be bigger, a larger island in the kitchen, space for a larger dining room table, and many other things. I thought these things about our house even as we were putting earnest money down on it. Every house, even those that feel like they were made for you, will have some quirks or missing elements. Maybe the kitchen doesn’t have those granite countertops, or perhaps the yard is a bit smaller than you hoped. There is no such thing as perfect; truly, it’s not something that exists. That’s why you have to compromise. It’s all a part of the home-buying process, and sometimes, those compromises lead to unexpected happiness.

Just know what elements are deal breakers for you and which you’re willing to compromise on. Stone countertops, lots of natural light, a two car garage, and proximity to specific amenities and a major highway were things we were not willing to budge on. Everything else was negotiable. That led us to being a little farther out than we wanted to be initially, but we are overjoyed every time we come home.

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There’s So Much Charm in “Potential”

You can always just create your dream home. There’s something incredibly rewarding about turning a not-so-perfect house into your perfect home through personal touches and updates. If you buy a newly constructed home it will often come with builder grade finishes which are often cheap and boring. If you buy a resale home it probably has the tastes and flair of the previous owner which might not be to your liking. If you look for a home that has ‘good bones’ you can update it to be perfect for you on your own.

Just check out the Instagram and TikTok pages of people turning their current house into their dream home. It’s incredible how much a little creativity and willpower can transform a space!  A home that needs a little TLC can become a labor of love, transforming into a space that not only meets your needs but also reflects your personal growth and journey. Plus, these improvements can even for appreciation (aka boost your home’s value) over time, which is a win-win! Just make sure you have enough money in reserves to take on a home that needs TLC. Major home repairs are not cheap and you don’t want to demolish your savings account fixing it up. Many people regret buying houses for this reason.

Life Changes, and So Do Your Needs

You have to keep in mind that your life will evolve—families expand, jobs change, and what you need in a home can shift. Today’s dream home might not suit your life in five or ten years. So that’s exactly why buying a home that suits your current lifestyle and budget, with room to adapt, can be far more practical than seeking a home that fits a rigid, possibly outdated dream. That’s why The Mister™ and I call this house the for now home, not the forever home. It is the house that will hopefully lead to us buying out dream home someday. A house is a long-term investment, so you have to think about the long-term of your life, too.