This is a tough subject to approach, for both Realtors and home buyers. Even though we all approach home buying with an objective-as-possible attitude, at the end of the day we’re all human. We all have emotions. Emotions are what make this subject so tough to approach. However, this is what makes this topic so important to talk about!

An image of a rectangular road sign in the foreground against a stormy sky. The sign reads, "MY WAY".

On one hand we have you, the home buyer. You do your homework, and you make a list of must-have home features to find a home that meets your needs. It's understandable how you can feel that the proper approach would be to include as many details as possible, in terms of applying intense criteria to your home shopping. On the other hand, we have the Realtor. They know the market like the back of their hand – what’s currently out there for homes, what homes are selling for certain price ranges, what features of homes influence their value, and so on. When they apply your criteria to what’s currently out there, not everything will fall neatly into place. This is where the friction occurs. This is where emotion can block understanding and problem solving. This is where Realtor and home buyer need to communicate effectively, so that what’s needed (your must-haves) are in proper proportion to what is (home features that are already out there).

Understanding each home buyer’s perspective is the job of a professional Realtor. On the other side of the proverbial coin, understanding how Realtors are trying to meet your criteria is a key aspect of being a great home buyer. If you were searching for a home completely on your own, you would need to push aside any emotion, and objectively match up what you need to what is out there. But, guess what? We’re all human. Feelings, emotions and desires can get in the way of that process. A Realtor acts as your scientific conscience (in this part of the process). We act as the little angel with a lab coat on one side of your shoulder, while emotions don the devilish attire on your other shoulder. We talk it out with the other side, and through this communication, we can whittle down house choices and decide on the best home for you.

With that silly image in your head, we hope it gives you a better understanding. While it's good (and imperative) to be diligent in making sure your home has all the things you need, there are still some things you should remember so you don't start to create unnecessary roadblocks. Overthinking can be a HUGE problem for buyers. Let’s talk about it, so that you know when your home-buying checklist turns into a “too-picky” impossible list:

An Evolving Checklist is Okay

An image of a red marker making checkmarks on a list.

Having a checklist for what you want is a great idea. But, don't consider it as written in stone. Once you start the house buying process, allow it to evolve. Don't feel as though you're compromising your priorities if you make a few changes to what you want out of your home. Exploring different houses currently out there will open your eyes to features you might not have been aware of prior to making your list.

Focus on Your Own Goal

An image looking down a long, stury, wooden bridge. Tall grasses surround the bridge. A blue sky is visible at the end of the bridge.

If you're looking for a starter home, look at homes as though they're a starter home. Don't pick the place apart as though you'll be living there for the rest of your life. By the same logic, if you are looking for a forever home, look at homes with your long-term needs in mind. A common mistake we can all make as a home buyer is to rip apart each individual house we look at in our minds. This comes from wanting to weigh the pros and cons of a home, to assess how it meets our needs. The logic of this approach is okay, but we tend to focus only on the cons and how much fixing them would cost. In the case of a starter home for example, certain cons of a home will not matter to you since you won’t be living there long enough for it/them to be a problem.

Critique Your Expectations

An image of 4 electrical outlets on a wall being rewired.

Sometimes, your thinking process can lead you to believe that every home out there just sucks. At that point, you begin to believe that the only way you’ll be able to buy a home is to customize one, or heavily renovate one. Choosing a home isn’t how HGTV likes to make it out to be. In fact, those shows often lead to extremely unrealistic expectations. If you could wrap up your home buying process in a neat, little 30-minute show, who would get a Realtor? Would there even be issues in each home buying transaction? Would budgets ever be an issue again? If you’re specifically looking for a fixer-upper, your expectations can be as high as you want – you’ve budgeted for it. If you have a different goal when it comes to finding a home (refer to the point above), your expectations need to reflect that goal and work with your budget. If you’re beginning to mind-customize each home you look at, you should stop yourself and think about when exactly you start to do this. That’s the expectation that you need to re-evaluate.

Talk Openly With Your Realtor

An image of 3 head silhouettes, with varying symbols depicting activity in the brain. One is knowledge, one is emotion and one is communication.

If you’re too picky about houses, you may notice a change in your Realtor. For example, if you see missing patches of hair from their head, you may have missed out on a few good homes they’ve showed you. Only kidding!

If you respect your Realtor, and know that they’re patient/good at what they do, signs of them becoming exasperated is a sign you are applying a bogus criterium to the process, and missing out on homes that would actually be a perfect fit for you. It’s important you talk openly with your Realtor, since their job is to help you. Having an honest dialogue, asking questions and being open-minded allows you communicate effectively, and in the end, get you the house you’ve been searching for.

Overall, be picky, but allow reason. If you’ve been looking at dozens of houses and you still find yourself finding reasons to dislike them all, you either aren't ready to buy, or need to adjust how you’re approaching the process. This is a judgement-free post, aimed to help your thinking process by understanding the whole picture.

Posted by Admin Staff on


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