Remember that house you could not imagine yourself living in—the one where you told your agent a person would have to be crazy to buy a place with a kitchen that small? Someone just made a full-priced offer on it. Turns out the buyer is single and almost always eats out.
Sure, that’s a hypothetical, but my point is that every buyer brings his own perspective and needs. The characteristics you desire in a home may be slightly—perhaps drastically—different from the next buyer. The good news is that there are homes out there with big kitchens and tiny ones, large yards and no yards, four sides brick, three sides stone and even all-glass walls.
But here’s where it gets tricky. Although homes come in all sizes and locations with varying amenities and styles, most homebuyers must make tradeoffs. After all, the house with the perfect his-and-hers home office may also be on a steep lot that isn’t ideal for your kids. So, what do you do?
You can start to narrow down your choices before you ever look at a house for sale. How? Give some thought to what you really want in a home. Start with the must-haves. For example, if you decide you have to live in a one-story home with at least three bedrooms that’s in a certain school district, you can eliminate certain properties from consideration. (Must-not’s also go in this category, like if you will not consider buying a home with a pool).
Next, list the characteristics you would really like, but may not be deal-breakers in an otherwise fabulous home. Finally, write down things that would be nice if you can get them—perhaps a three-car garage or a backyard deck.
Once you’ve prioritized your goals, don’t ignore them. A spacious walk-in closet might tempt you to forget about the third bedroom you said you needed. Don’t let it unless you truly can be happy with two bedrooms. Likewise, don’t discount a home because it doesn’t have a feature from the bottom of your list.
Understand the tradeoffs
Unless you have unlimited financial resources, you likely will need to make a compromise or two. For instance, if you want a larger house but can’t afford one in the neighborhood of your choice, you will either have to choose a different neighborhood or a smaller home. Perhaps you feel more secure in a gated community but do not want to pay monthly homeowner-association fees. You have a choice to make. The key is to weigh these compromises and tradeoffs in the context of your overall objectives.
After you consider the pros and cons, you might decide to re-evaluate your list of priorities. However, don’t simply ignore your initial goals without consideration of how you will ultimately enjoy that particular home.
If you find a great home with one undesirable feature, do you reject it out of hand? That depends. If the item at the top of your list is a home that works well for someone with limited mobility, you won’t give further consideration to a multilevel house. But say you tour a home that has everything you want. Everything, that is, except a half bath. You want two and a half baths, and this almost-perfect home only has two.
This is the perfect time to get additional information. How hard will it be to add a half bath to this home’s existing layout? What will it cost? Can you get the work done before you move in?
Don’t ignore your intuition
The process I’ve described so far relies heavily on logic and reason. But homebuying also involves emotions. Don’t totally ignore your gut feelings about houses. Sometimes, even though a house doesn’t quite match up with your list of desired features, there’s just something about it you really like. Or a house that meets your every need just doesn’t feel right. If you can, take a little while to let the emotions settle. Go over your priorities again. Visit the house one more time.
Your Texas Realtor can help you sort through the many factors involved in locating a home that meets your needs. It can be beneficial to share your selection criteria with someone who has an outsider’s view of your goals and an insider’s understanding of the process. For more tips I invite you to visit Arlingtonrealtor.com.