If you’re ready to move on from renting, buying a house might feel like a dream come true. But before you can call any property “The One,” it has to meet both your financial and emotional criteria. And determining that requires an in-depth assessment of your lifestyle and goals.

Merriam-Webster defines home as “a place of residence; a dwelling.” And, more broadly, the term can refer to a sense of belonging in a location, joy from family and friends or even just the feeling you get when you pull up to the curb. But finding a home can also be difficult, particularly in this hot real estate market. Oftentimes, buyers get caught up in the excitement of purchasing a new property and neglect to take a step back and evaluate whether or not it really meets their needs.

Before stepping out to look at properties, it’s helpful to create a list of “needs” and “nice to have” features. This will help you narrow down your search and stay within budget. It’s also helpful to write down your price range, and stick to it. You’ll save a lot of time and heartache by finding a property that fits your financial requirements.

Another important consideration when choosing a property is the location and neighborhood. It should fit your lifestyle, and provide access to the amenities you use on a regular basis. For example, you might want to be near public transportation or an easily accessible downtown area with restaurants and shopping. The home should also be close to any hobbies or activities you regularly engage in, such as jogging, playing music or going to local restaurants and events.

Once you find a property that checks all of the boxes on your list, it’s important to perform a thorough home inspection before finalizing any sales agreements. A professional can help you identify any mechanical or structural problems that may require immediate attention or could have significant long-term implications. Then, you can decide how to proceed with the purchase.

Depending on your circumstances and lifestyle, there are many different types of homes to choose from. The type of home you select will depend on your budget, the amount of maintenance required and the space needed. Single-family home: Generally the largest of the property types, these offer the most privacy and space. Townhome: Typically more affordable than single-family homes, these offer the convenience of living in a community and require less maintenance.

Manufactured home: Today’s high-quality manufactured homes can be designed to resemble traditional homes and offer the same benefits of homeownership as other property types.

While creating a checklist of must-haves and wants is an effective strategy, it can be helpful to take some time for self-reflection. What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead, and what kind of space will your family and friends need? If you find a property that ticks all of the right boxes, and feels like home when you walk through the door, then it’s probably The One.