There are many considerations when searching for a new home, and rarely — no matter the price range — does a buyer find a house that has every feature on the Wish List. Prioritizing that list is very important, and it helps to focus the search.

Naturally, budget is high up on the list. The budget determines the price range.

Once home shoppers determine the price range, the next dilemmas are location, size of the house, size and setting of the property, and additional must-have features, such as whether the house must have a pool or a garage.

Location impacts lifestyle. Some buyers may prefer to be in town, with a sense of neighborhood and the convenience of walking to schools, shops and restaurants. Those who don’t mind a short drive and prefer privacy and a larger property may prefer to be in mid-country or backcountry.

Obviously, the size of the home matters, too. Perhaps there’s a minimum number of bedrooms needed, or preferences about the number of bathrooms, or the need for a finished lower level. The house’s space and floor plan need to reflect the family’s size and lifestyle. Maybe it would be nice to have additional suites for live-in staff or long-term guests. Other buyers may insist on places to house vehicles or boats.

The style of the house may also be important. Choosing a colonial, contemporary, or something in between, is a personal preference. Style can also determine comfort. Does the family need a single-story home, or a first-floor master suite? Do you prefer a home with all the bedrooms on the second level?

Other features, such as finished basements, swimming pools, tennis courts and the like can be decision drivers, too. Or, can they be added in the future? A query at the building department at Town Hall usually answers those questions.

Understanding your personal needs and priorities will make you a much more efficient and successful home shopper.

Sharon Kinney and Margi Vorder Bruegge, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, (203) 536-2014 Sharon’s cell, (203) 912-8311 Margi’s cell,,