Buying a home is a complex decision financially and emotionally, with long-term effects on life. Being clear on your housing needs and wants before starting can help make the process easier. As much as possible, your home should fit the life of everyone living there — space, features, neighborhood, and more. Try to agree on your priorities before you have narrowed down to a particular house. Things to consider: Home features. How many bedrooms? Offices? Garage size? What are your must-have and like-to-have criteria for common areas such as kitchen, living room, and media room? Home size. Square footage is a big factor in pricing; how does your desired size compare to your current situation? Lot and yard. The outdoor space around the house may be a big or small factor for you. Other amenities such as distance to work and schools, neighborhood character, parks and common facilities, as well as in-house amenities — everything from the floors to the roof — are also part of your decision process. The experts advise knowing your minimum requirements — those must-haves — and your wish list of nice-to-have features.