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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

To Buy or Not to Buy?

One question that eventually comes up with almost every one of my clients during the home-search process is "should we make an offer on this house?"  In other words, what they are really asking is "is this the best we are going to find or should we keep looking?"  Once again, I have to dig out the crystal ball.....

The answer to that question has many facets.  Whether I tell a client "yes, maybe you should" or "well, maybe not" really depends on the individual situation. I never try to answer this question for my clients but I try to put the question in perspective.

Here are some of the variables that factor in that question:

  • How long have you been looking?
  • How many houses have you seen so far?
  • How does this house compare to everything else you have seen?
  • Does it "feel" like it could be the "right" one?*
  • If you don't make an offer, what are your options?  Is there anything else out there that you like?
  • Can you live with this one?
  • If nothing better comes up will you be disappointed that you didn't try for it?
  • Does it meet most of your needs and some of your "wants?"
  • How long are you willing to wait for the "right" one if this one may not be exactly the "right" one?
There are many different answers to these questions and any given time.  It's really hard to ever say that a particular home is the "right" one.  You may never know that for sure, partially because there may be no right "one," but there may be several homes out there that will meet most, if not all, of your needs.  If you feel that there can only be one "right one" your criteria may be a little narrow.  If you are being realistic about your potential purchase you will probably find that there are usually a few homes that will work for you.  That is really the best position to be in.  If you think "that's the one!" and you end up not getting it everything else will pale in comparison and you'll never be satisfied with another home after that.  

I mentioned "wants" and "needs."  Drawing the line between "wants" and "needs" can be a challenge.  I try to help people realize that needs are more important, and that sometimes what we define as a "need" is really a "want."  This becomes pretty evident when you have a certain price point and you find, as a buyer, that your just not going to get all of your desires in your price range.  Things that were originally  "needs" sometimes become "wants" as you look through homes and take notes.  We all have to make sacrifices when purchasing a home.  Nobody ever gets all of their needs and all of their wants.  Like the old saying goes "you can't get a champagne house on a beer budget."   They key lies in making an honest assessment of your own wants and needs and in understanding the market in your price range (what can I get for my money).  If you can do that you will have a pretty good idea when a house might just be the "right" one for you, or at lease one that meets most of your criteria and that is a good value for what you are looking for.

So, is something better going to come along?  Well, that's hard to say.  Have listings been coming on the market that meet your criteria?  Is this the time of year where listings are increasing, or decreasing? Have you exhausted the list of all possible homes? Are you willing to take your chances that something better will come along?  Are you willing to loose this one in hopes that something better comes along?  Do you have realistic expectations?  That last one is really important one...and might be a discussion for another day.  That being said, hopefully my comments will help you answer the inevitable question "should we make an offer....or wait?"