Are You A "Difficult" Home Buyer?

Posted by Ed DePrato on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 12:49pm.

One thing that is tough for a realtor is a client coming to them and saying that he or she is the third or fourth realtor they’ve been working with. Sure, you might find a realtor that doesn’t listen as well as he or she should or maybe isn’t as attentive as a buyer would like. But when a buyer is on to their fourth realtor and they still haven’t found the “perfect home”, it’s less about the realtor and more about the buyers and their expectations. A buyer like this may be referred to as being difficult but it’s more likely that it’s about the expectations, communication and openness to compromise.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the reality shows where a couple is searching for the perfect home with a list of non-negotiable must-haves a mile long and, oh by the way, let’s get everything for half the price it should be. It’s just not realistic and we know it isn’t, but when it comes to ourselves, well, sometimes it’s “I want what I want for the price I want it.” That is only going to lead to major problems in a search for a new home. So let’s save everyone some time, frustration and energy by talking about how we can make the process of buying a home easier for everyone involved.

First, let’s start with a little introspection and some open dialogue. Why are you looking to buy a home? Are you doing it because you want to (such as it’s time to trade up for a larger home) or because you have to (such as moving for a new job)? Do you have the luxury of time to search or is there a deadline that has to be met? Are you and your spouse or partner both in agreement with the move or is one of you fighting against it? If you aren’t agreeing on moving or on the type of home to move to, what can be done or compromised to achieve agreement? Let your realtor know all of this. A realtor isn’t a family counselor but it’s important to know the dynamics of the situation so that they can address everyone’s needs properly and work within a time frame if necessary.

Make a list of your expectations. Physically write down your desired features and either rank them from most important to least important or as must have to would like. Make a list of your top three areas to live in and rank them as well. Do a reality check by sharing these lists with your realtor. It is possible that your realtor will tell you some things you may not want to hear but please be open to accepting his or her feedback. You must manage your expectations realistically. You aren’t going to move into a $2.5 million high rise condo for $250k. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find a 5 bedroom, 4 bath home with a gourmet kitchen within a $150k budget. Champagne dreams on a beer budget, as they say, are unlikely to be realized.

Are you open to doing a some renovation? You may be able to get a home for less money and build equity if you are willing to do some work or invest in hiring it done. If you are willing to consider renovation, let your realtor know specifically what type of work you are comfortable and willing to do and what you won’t or can’t do. If you aren’t willing to renovate at all and the home must be move in ready, let him or her know that too. There is no point in wasting time looking at homes that need work if you won’t or can’t do it.

However, understand that things like painting or changing light fixtures aren’t considered renovation. It shouldn’t be a deal killer just because you don’t like the color of a room. Paint is cheap and easy to do. Light fixtures or plumbing fixtures are also easy to swap out. If you aren’t willing to do any of this, definitely let your realtor know because this means you should be looking only at new built homes.

A realtor will do everything he or she can to find you the most beautiful home that fits the majority of your needs, and all of your most important ones, all while getting you the best price. You just need to:

  • Communicate explicitly and speak up about your needs.
  • Be realistic about what you can get for your budget.
  • Trust your realtor to give you the best advice and know they are on your side.
  • Be open to compromise.

If you can do those four things, you’ll find your new home more quickly and with a lot less frustration for everyone involved. We hope you’ll let us help you find your new home. Check out our interactive map of Edmonton on our homepage and contact us as soon as you are ready to start looking for your new home.

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