Too Picky When Home Buying

Mike Capelle, Broker/OwnerMike Capelle, Broker/Owner

If you are shopping for a home, it’s nice to think you won’t settle for anything less than perfection. But that’s kind of like holding out for the “perfect” life partner—romantic, but unrealistic.

No matter what stage of life you’re in, you’ll never find a house that meets all your needs forever. And if you’re too detail-focused, you could pass up one that suits you now or only needs reasonable modification. I’m not telling you to give up on all your desires, but here are 4 signs you’re being too picky when home buying, and may end up with no home at all.

Sign No. 1: You know exactly what you want—to a fault

It makes sense to house hunt with a few basic criteria in mind (open kitchen, quiet street). But if your wish list is airtight and hermetically sealed (for example, you pass up a home just because your furniture doesn’t fit in the bedroom), a great place could slip away from you.

People often think they know what kind of house they want before they start looking, but they usually don’t. Your checklist should evolve as you visit more homes with your priorities rising and falling. The less ironclad your wish list, the better. Flexibility is your friend.

Sign No. 2: You’re searching for your ‘forever home’—even if it’s your first

They’re called “starter homes” for a reason: Odds are you won’t stay there forever. Starter homes may be too small, or too far from your office, or even a tiny bit too unattractive, but if it’s within your price range and satisfies some basics on your checklist, maybe you shouldn’t pass over it so fast.

Yet that’s exactly what many home buyers are doing these days: According to Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights Report, 75% of first-time home buyers say they plan to forgo buying a starter home and instead are saving for homes that they’ll love for a lifetime, with 35% wanting to retire in the first home they purchase. That’s all nice, but you could end up waiting a whole long time before you can afford that. Why not build equity in a first home for five years before upgrading instead?

So whether you’re scouting school zone districts or making space for grandchildren before you have your first child, don’t let fantasies of forever impair your judgment for the home you pick here and now. Don’t make the mistake of expecting that your house needs—indeed, your life plan—won’t change.

Sign No. 3: You think home improvement reality shows are actually realistic

On TV shows such as “House Crashers” and “Property Brothers,” fixer-uppers are transformed into eye-popping showpieces in a matter of days. In reality, such renovations are extremely costly, complex, often nightmarish, and always time-consuming. Details are glossed over onscreen, raising people’s real-life expectations.

Massive renovation plans to a home that aren’t reasonable for the property or the neighborhood are a sign that you should be looking elsewhere.

Sign No. 4: Your real estate agent’s getting exasperated

Good Realtors genuinely want you to buy a home you will adore, so you should defer to their industry expertise whenever possible.

You should take the time to make your own discoveries and decisions, but if a home isn’t a fit, just cross it off the list right away and don’t try to convince yourself it will work.

If you are finding an insurmountable problem with every home your agent shows you—nitpicking even homes you like, ask yourself if you are truly ready to buy.

When you are ready for your first or next home, Sunset Vista Realty is ready to help. Check out our Buyer Services.

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