As an Accredited Buyers Representative, I often work with Buyers to find their new homes. Sometimes these buyers come to me with a clearly defined set of requirements. More often, these requirements evolve as we get to know each other and as they learn more about the communities and neighborhoods that interest them.
Recently, I had a client come to me with a request to find him a 1 bedroom 1 bath condo in a new development. As is my way of doing business, we sat down to discuss the process of finding a new home, reviewed paperwork, talked about objectives and, finally, went out to see some representative properties. These properties included a condo in a building with a parking garage and elevator, a garden-style condo and a condo in a 55 and older community. Touring each of these different types of condominiums gave both he and I a chance to see what he did, and did not, like about different units.
We also threw in a 2 bedroom unit since it was vacant and close. My objective in doing this was NOT to make him spend more money. From a sheer investment perspective, 2 bedroom units will often sell more quickly (more candidate buyers--small families, investors who can rent to two people, the ability for the owner to rent out a second room) and provide more flexibility to the owner. I simply wanted him to determine if he thought the price difference might be worth it for him.
As a buyer's agent my job is to not to simply find a property, write a contract and collect a commission. I see my job as facilitating my client's investment. I have to match up his or her objectives with the current market conditions to find a property that is best suited for all of their needs.
We finished our day by discussing some other types of properties that he might now consider--having had the opportunity to see how what was on paper translates in to his lifestyle.
I consider this an on-going project. I don't think we have finally established what will work best for him, but I am confident that we will be able to figure it out in time and get him in to a property that will be a great fit for him.
As you put together your list of 'wants' keep in mind that you should approach the purchase of a new home with an open mind and view this list as a starting point. Obviously, if you have a large family, you may not want to change the number of bedrooms on your list. But what if you found a house on a small lot that opened to a community playground--wouldn't it be worth reconsidering your requirement for a 1/2 acre?
The process of buying a home does not have to be a lengthy one. But it should be a process where you work closely with an Realtor to find a property that works for you--not one that has been defined by the media, or your agent, as the right place. Give yourself an opportunity to see what is out there and to 'try on' different ideas. You will find that by being flexible you will give yourself the best chance to find a property that meets both your personal and financial objectives!