Working with buyers is at times very trying. Sure, they want a home and they have a list of things they need. The importance of one item or another seems to rise and fall as each home is visited. This blog is a wonderful recipe we use when trying to narrow the focus for our clients and get them on track to move from fantasy to reality.
I pulled the car over and said to my house-hunting passengers “We need to talk.” They were cornered unless they wanted to get out and walk; and at first, they were a little stunned. After all, I had not given them the fabled fair warning, “If you don’t stop fighting, I’m going to have to pull this car over!”
“In your price range, we are not going to find a perfect house. If that price range is not negotiable, we have to identify what is most important to you. You are never going to agree on everything,” I told them, “so let’s agree on three must-haves and three-must-not-haves. Who is making the first suggestion?”
Lo and behold, they finally agreed on the three musts and the three nots.We found an imperfect, but just right house on our very next outing. I had actually stumbled onto a great technique. It works best when the basics have already been determined: price range, city vs. country, number of bedrooms, ranch vs. multi-level.
Beyond those basics, though, there are still lots of factors, and every MUST can also be a MUST NOT for a given buyer.
Large yard, fenced yard, brick construction, walk-out basement, and a deck can all be attractive to many buyers.Other buyers hate to mow and weed-eat. That leaves out the large yard and fence. Buyers who long for a New England cottage feel are not at all interested in an all-brick suburban ranch. While a basement is on my personal MUST list, I have worked with buyers who say they would never use a basement and consider it an expensive option at best and a detriment at worst. More than once, I have heard buyers say that a deck is just an invitation to burglars. That had never occurred to me until I heard that argument from a single woman who also said she felt the same way about basements.
Even popular features like vaulted ceilingsand expansive banks of windows can be a turn off to an energy-conscious buyer. Though a buyer may feel they need to consider all options, they will not actually be sold by an “in” feature that does not appeal to them personally.
Often, I find that the MUST NOTs help narrow the field of possibilitieseven faster than the MUSTs; and once we can determine the real deal killers, we can eliminate all of those houses without much regret. The point, after all, is to find THE house, not to look all all of the houses!