This is the most subjective question that can be asked of a Realtor and one that I am always happy to engage in.
The answer to that question is obviously ‘it depends’, but the key is discovering what it depends on. That, obviously, varies by buyer and by home. There is no one right answer, but there is a best way of figuring it out.
Purchasing a Home is an Expression of Self
The purchase of a home, no matter what we want to tell ourselves, is an expression of self. Yes, we all want to make a smart decision and yes, we all want to make a financially rewarding decision, but ultimately, we want to be happy when we come around the corner and see ‘our home.’
It is one of our most basic needs.
Having worked in this business for 20 years, I have worked with a lot of buyers and the common thread, if there is one, is that the best buyers are the ones that have the best understanding of their own sense of self. Spoken differently, the best buyers know why they are buying. I have seen reasons that have esoteric as ‘Where I live will affect my job advancement’ and ‘I need to live below my means as I handle other’s money.’ I have been told that ‘we don’t want to live in a vinyl-sided house in Mechanicsville’ only to buy a vinyl-sided house in Mechanicsville (true story!) and I have been told to only look at homes that faced a specific direction. I have also been told that ‘I want to live within 10 minutes of my gym, office and a grocery store.’
All valid reasons if they are real reasons.
Understand Your Own ‘Why’
The point is this – buyers need to understand why they are making the decision before they should get started. Being unhappy with your current situation is a perfectly acceptable reason to start the process of selling but it is not the reason to buy. Making a decision that is based on a dissatisfaction with a circumstance only works in the short term. It doesn’t really fix the long term problem.
Strive to understand your own true motivations, be honest with yourself about why these motivations exist and don’t be afraid challenge them. Starting the process with total self-awareness means a more focused search and a better recipe for success.
About the Writer // Sarah Jarvis is Principal Broker/Partner of One South Realty and 20 year industry veteran. Her work as head loan officer with the $100M Private Equity fund of Silver Construction Capital during the early 2000’s proves invaluable to her clients.