By Kay Wilson-Bolton
May 5, 2006
Buyers and sellers face similar challenges in the housing market. “Choosing the right home to buy” can be as challenging as “choosing the right home for comparisons” when establishing a price.
Some would disagree that a two-bedroom home with a family room and 1500 sf, is not comparable to a three-bedroom home with 1450 sf.
In today’s culture with generally smaller families and the wide appeal of home offices, I would consider them to be at least competitive—if not comparable.
Finding a home to buy is rarely easy. I know a buyer who has seen 48 homes and has yet to make an offer on one.
It could well be that the home this buyer really wants does not exist for in today’s real estate market, smaller lots require smaller houses.
Recently, one buyer who’d been looking for months decided that she was ready to buy. She was intent on making one of several new listings work for her and her family. When she previewed a new listing in her favorite neighborhood, she was sure she’d found the home she was going to buy.
The listing showed beautifully. It had been nicely renovated. It has the right number of bedrooms and baths. There was a family room and a lovely yard.
Then she visited another new listing that she also liked. In fact, she liked the living space better. While this house didn’t have a remodeled kitchen and nice family room like the other house, it was bigger. The yard wasn’t as nice as the one at the first house and the school district wasn’t as good. But, the house worked better for her lifestyle.
To complicate matters, her husband preferred a listing that was larger than either of the other two and it was located in the better neighborhood. However, it was on a busy street and it needed a lot of work.
Compromise is a necessary part of the home buying process. The perfect house doesn’t exist, no matter what your price range. But before you give up on finding a home that has absolutely everything you want, re-examine your wish list carefully and then prioritize it.
The first section is for those “must have” features, or the non-negotiables, such as the number of bedrooms and baths.
The second section is for those features that you’d like to have, but that you can live without if necessary.
Lastly, list the items that you absolutely don’t want, like a home that’s up a lot of stairs or too close to a freeway.
It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re looking at listings, particularly if they have been staged for sale. While it can be a good selling technique, staging can disguise defects. When a listing looks good, it tends to make buyers feel at home. This is an emotional feeling that can interfere somewhat with a rational home buying decision.
Lastly, it is sometimes it is good to limit the input from those who are not invested in the purchase.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner and Broker of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 340.5025.