Finding the Perfect Home
I have seen many people fall in love with many properties. I’ve fallen in love with quite a few myself and I continue to even though I’ve taken close looks at thousands of homes. But I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a perfect home.
It is common for Buyers to go through a stage during the home shopping process where they are having trouble reconciling their wish list with what is realistically available. What they really want is usually either out of their price range or is found in pieces that are spread across a handful of different properties. I usually explain that the latter is really just another kind of ‘out of price range’. Having all those things they want combined in one property makes for a property that is not only more desirable to them but also to the market in general and thus commands a higher price. I have come to define ‘luxury’ as ‘not having to make any compromises’ and from what I’ve seen, even the wealthy have to make some compromises.
This is not something all Buyers go through though. Some Buyers enter the property search with a sense of adventure and an open mind to the myriad of possibilities that exist for them. These Buyers have more fun with the process and usually end up getting better deals because they can see potential where others see flaws. This is a point worth remembering if you ask me.
Usually, the only way to get a property that has all of the pieces of perfection combined is to do a custom build with a healthy budget. Certainly possible, but more of a commitment than most people are willing to go through. (Finding the right lot, making sure it has the right zoning and has an appropriate building scheme for what they have in mind, hiring and working things out with an Architect and a Contractor, not getting overly upsold in the process and above all choosing all the tiny details about what they want in the property that they had probably never though of before.) Even if they do all of this, I believe that they will find flaws in what they have created anyway in the end. Over time they will refine their ideas. Maybe they wish they installed the island in the kitchen a few feet this way or that way or made the bathroom a little bigger or had another window on a certain wall. The easier route is really to find a home that has most of what you want but has the potential for you to modify it to make it as close to your idea of perfection as possible.
I also often say that looking for a property is similar in many ways to looking for a spouse. In our youth, we may start out having an idea of a perfect spouse in mind but over time we come to realize that in reality no one is 100% perfect. This doesn’t mean we can’t fall madly in love with a less than perfect someone and spend many happy years with them. Their flaws can also be their charms and over time they become part of who you are too. Same goes for a home. Having said that, it is much easier to separate yourself from a property if down the road if you no longer wish to live there plus it’s much easier to change a home than it is to change a person. (We’ve all tried haven’t we?)
I try not to be too direct in telling my clients all of this because I understand that there is already a lot of pressure on a client plus I know that most of them will work things out naturally anyway. Most will realize that there are in fact quite a few nice homes available to them and choose the best of the bunch. A few decide to save up for a bigger down payment so they can get something fancier. Others keep looking and hoping that the perfect property will show up (relying on luck) but sooner or later they realize they needed to change their criteria or expectations before they can truly fall in love with a property that is within financial reach and actually exists on the market.
And then.. we negotiate the best deal we can.