When I helped my daughter get her car a couple of years ago, I have to admit I went overboard. I investigated maintenance issues, safety statistics, and mileage. I spent about two months scouring consumer information websites so that I could give her the best advice.
What did she decide on? She brought this information to the table with her, but ended up also factoring in her comfort with handling the car, and, frankly, the way it looked, which I was unable to really consider. She ended up with a RAV 4. This probably wouldn’t have been the car that I would have chosen for her, but honestly? It was the best choice. It looked pretty hot, and we have seen two of ours go through bad accidents with no harm to the occupants. She has her third right now.
This is not an ad for Toyotas, nor is it a sad commentary on my daughter’s driving ability. What I am saying is that there are a lot of subjective influences involved in any choice, be it for a car, style of clothing, or a home. No one external to the choice can make the decision.
I would say that many times when showing real estate I can pinpoint the final three homes that clients are looking at, but, like my daughter’s choice of automobile, I can’t tell what is going to strike that chord. I know the type of kitchen layout they want, but I don’t know where they are picturing that Christmas tree going, or where they are planning their Sunday breakfasts, or what kind of outdoor games they play on weekends. In this market (in most places) particularly, there is the inventory available so that buyers may not find the house of their dreams, but they can find the house for their lives.
So if I were to give advice to buyers? Bring your life with you to the property. Bring along the things you cherish and don’t compromise on those things. Prioritize what is worthwhile to you. School system, walking trails, commute to work, level back yard, room to gather for family functions- these are not things that can be changed easily and that can’t be quantified. Even things like an extra bathroom can usually be added, but changing a layout to suite your family’s needs is a different animal.
Walk through the house as if it were yours. Don’t look at the paint and paper- these are such easy fixes. Look at the design of it and what surrounds it and see if it is a match for your lifestyle. Expect that if you have chosen your agent well that he or she will walk you through the business end of things, for the most part. Your agent will be looking for different things as you walk through, as you would expect.
People in this country move an average of every seven to eight years, and one in six move each year. Most stay within the same county. The fact that homes do not fit lifestyles factor into this.
Use the information that your agent shares with you to make a decision that is both objective and subjective. And remember- even armed with all of the information that I had, and knowing my daughter as well as I do, I would have chosen the wrong car for her. Intangibles play a huge role in the decision-making process, and only only my daughter could tap into that for herself. Only you will know when you have found the right home.