Do you see yourself staying in your current home forever? Even if you love where you live now, you may still be dreaming of the opportunity to move into a better house in a better neighborhood. Will you and your family need more space as time goes on? Are there certain home features you want or even need? Do you want to move into a nicer neighborhood? There are many reasons you might decide to buy up! Perhaps the big move is still years away…or maybe that day is today. Here’s how you can assess if you’re ready.

First, make a list of all the practical reasons why you should move. Think about what you need from the house itself, such as more bedrooms for a growing family or at-home office space. Do you need backyard space for pets? What about parking, especially as your children reach driving age? A new home can also mean being closer to schools and work. Being in a quieter and safer neighborhood, away from heavy traffic, can also be very important factors to consider. While addressing what you may need today, take a hard look at what you may need in the future.

Next, consider the emotional reasons for making such a move. Talk to all members in your family when compiling your Wish List. From pools, to mudrooms, bigger kitchens, and game rooms, consider all the extra wants and needs expressed by all family members. Being nearby common destinations, such as shopping centers, parks and theaters may also be important to your family. Overall lighter traffic, well-maintained roads, and alternative routes that avoid busy traffic chokepoints can also help cut down on stressful commutes. Although it is likely you won’t be able to meet all your wants in a move, having a well thought out Wish List can help focus on the reasons to move and keep your needs in check while searching for a new home.

Finally, seriously consider your financial position. Start by getting an appraisal of your current home and understanding its value given the current market. Speak with a mortgage professional to determine how much you qualify for in a new mortgage. Compare this to the prices of properties in the neighborhoods and communities you are considering. Talking with a real estate professional can help answer any questions, and help you get a more accurate estimation of home values and what you and your family can afford.

With your wants and needs on paper, and a better understanding of the finances entailed in purchasing a new home, you can quickly decide if you are ready to buy up.