Where Is That Perfect Home You’ve Been Looking For?
If you are one of the many people who are beginning to wonder if you’ll ever find a that perfect home, let me share some insight… I’ve found the best way to approach house hunting is to be realistic about your must-haves versus what can be changed after you move in. One thing is for certain — that perfect home does not exist. Your magical dream home that checks 100% of your must-have list just isn’t out there. Minor cosmetic improvements and remodeling projects are part of home ownership. Once you own it, you can take the home from 75, 85, 90 percent up to 100! A good first step is to identify the things that can or can not be changed in a home.
Keep in mind that major things such as a problematic floor plan or a poor location can’t be fixed. Those are permanent and will materially affect the value of the home. While there’s a ‘right price’ for every home, you don’t want to over pay for a home with issues that can’t be changed. It can be easy to overlook some of these major downsides when you are just so desperate to get your offer accepted.
As a Realtor, I’m always going to caution about the challenges that could affect the resale value of your home down the road. A bad floor plan or location will likely still negatively affect the resale value in a few years when it is time for you to move up into your next home. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you won’t be able to fix the fact that your guests have to walk through the master bedroom to get to the back yard. It may appear that you’re getting more for your money now, but living on a busy street doesn’t appeal to everyone. When it comes time to sell, the bad location could cause you to get less in return.
On the other hand, don’t let the hideous carpet, paint colors or furniture have a major effect on your decision to buy a home. Walking through homes, I often wonder what people are thinking with their interior design decisions. Thankfully, many times these are cosmetic choices that aren’t permanent. These types of cosmetic repairs can be resolved many times even before you move in. Don’t let someone else’s bad taste distort your view of what could be a beautiful home after a few renovations. You may even be able to negotiate a credit from the seller through escrow for repairs and improvements.
While a seller’s messy living arrangements and bad taste can have an overstated negative affect on a home’s value, a nicely furnished home can lead to an increased perception of value. Some homes are lavishly staged to present a warm inviting environment when they go on the market. Be sure that when you’re looking at a home you look beyond the personal property… It won’t be there when you move in. Often rooms are staged with furniture that’s not realistic to the way you live. Did you notice that there was a double bed instead of a queen size? Was there even a dresser in the bedroom at all? It can be a good idea to measure your own furniture ahead of time and then bring a tape measure with you to the home so you can see how it will potentially fit into the space. It will help you to visualize how the home will suit your needs.
One last thing to remember when you do find that near perfect home and it’s time to submit an offer — There’s a good chance you won’t be the only ones lined up at their door with a strong offer. Especially when a home is in immaculate condition. In a competitive market like we’re currently seeing around Sacramento, sellers are receiving numerous offers and are going into escrow in less than a week! It’s a supply and demand issue. There’s not nearly enough supply to satisfy the demand of buyers who are in the market for a home. It’s a problem in nearly all price ranges and neighborhoods.
It can be very discouraging to finally find the perfect home only to be outbid with 7 other offers and someone paid tens of thousands of dollars more than the home was listed for. If owning a home is your ultimate goal, then try to stay positive and focus on that goal. I’m not suggesting that you settle for a home that you know isn’t going to meet your needs. I’m also not recommending that you overpay for a home that seems to meet them all. Having a realistic perspective of the market and understanding what it will take to successfully navigate an accepted contract are necessary elements in negotiating your transaction.
Carol Kellogg is a Realtor living in Fair Oaks, California. She started her career with Lyon Real Estate in 1992. Over the past 25 years she has sold hundreds of homes, focusing on the importance of the customer experience. Representing both buyers and sellers, her goal is to provide quality service with a personal touch. Whether it’s a first-time buyer or seller, or a seasoned veteran in the world of real estate, Carol brings an element of experience and confidence that her clients appreciate.
#1 Realtor in the Lyon Real Estate Fair Oaks Offices 1998 – 2002.
Masters Club Outstanding Life Member
The Realty Alliance National Sales Award
C. Mike Messina Award for Leadership & Professionalism
Former Senior Vice President of Lyon Real Estate