If you’re buying a home, it’s nice to think you won’t accept anything less than perfection. However come on, that’s kind of like holding out for the “perfect” partner — affectionate, but unrealistic. Get a grip, people!
“No matter what level of life you’re in, you’ll never find a residence that meets allyour needs forever,” says Carrie Benuska, a Realtor at John Aaroe Group in Pasadena, CA. “And if you’re very detail-focused, you can actually take a pass on one that suits you now or only wants modification.”
No, we’re not telling you to just settle. But we want to make sure you aren’t one of those exceedingly hard-to-please, pie-in-the-sky idealists who’ll end up with no house at all.
Check out these signs your pickiness level is off the charts and could stand for a few tapering way back.
Sign No. 1: You know exactly what you wish — to a fault
It makes sense to house seek with a few simple rules in mind (open kitchen, quiet street). But in case your wish list is airtight and hermetically sealed (i.e., you pass up a home mainly because your furniture doesn’t fit in the bedroom), a great place might slip right past your radar.
“People often think they know what kind of house they want before they start looking, but they usually don’t,” says Wendy Flynn, owner of Wendy Flynn Realty in College Station, TX. “Checklists should evolve as people visit more homes with priorities rising and falling.”
So, the much less ironclad your wish list, the better. Versatility is your friend.
Sign No. 2: You’re hunting for your ‘forever home’ — even if it’s the number one
They’re called “starter homes” for a good reason: Probability 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 own 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 purchasers say they plan to forgo buying a starter home and instead are saving for homes that they’ll love for forever, with 35% wanting to retire in the first home they acquire. 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 5 years before upgrading instead?
No matter you’re scouting school zone districts or making space for grandchildren before you’re pregnant (yes, this happens, says Flynn), don’t let fantasies of forever impair your opinion for the home you pick in here and now.
Sign No. 3: You think home improvement reality shows are actually realistic
On TV programs such as “House Crashers” and “Property Brothers,” fixer-uppers are turned to eye-popping showpieces in a matter of days. In reality, such renovations are extremely costly, difficult, often terrifying, and always time-consuming. Details are glossed over onscreen, raising people’s real-life expectations.
“I can tell right away if a client is super picky if he wants to make massive renovations to a home that aren’t reasonable for the property or the neighborhood,” says Flynn. “Other times, I’ll jokingly say, ‘Now, look, this isn’t HGTV.'”
Sign No. 4: Your real estate agent’s getting frustrated
Good Realtors genuinely want you to purchase a house you adore, so defer to their industry expertise whenever possible.
“I like to give my buyers the time they need to make their own discoveries and decisions,” says Flynn. “But I also respect their deal breakers: If a home isn’t a fit, let’s leave right away and not try to persuade each other it will work.” And yet: Indecision can cause an agent to run circles around a client who won’t consider perspective beyond their own.
“Years ago, I had a client who always found a problem with every home I showed him, even ones he loved,” says Benuska. “Eventually, I had to sever our working relationship — to this day, he still hasn’t bought a home.” The good news: “Oftentimes, the root of pickiness is fear,” says Benuska.