That title may seem a little silly, but the way shoppers evaluate a prospective home never ceases to amaze me. There is nothing wrong with having a vision of your ideal home. In fact, having such a vision is a necessity. You need to know what kind of home you will be happy in. A workaholic with no family and a busy life would probably do best to buy a condominium with amenities like a building concierge that can receive packages and let the cable guy in, a pool or health club onsite to get daily exercise and an easy commute to work. This may make more sense than purchasing a large Hoboken –area home with a yard in the suburbs.
In fact, if you are not sure what you want, you should probably make what a friend of mine calls a “Ben Franklin List”. Benjamin Franklin, whom I think we’d all agree is no slouch, came up with a really useful decision-making tool. Basically, you divide a sheet of paper into relevant columns. In this case it could be “Wants, Needs and Undesirables”. Now you populate those columns with your choices. Maybe you want an open concept floor-plan and some type of outdoor space. What you need might be parking, elevator or three bedrooms. Undesirables might be location too far from NYC transportation or 4th floor walk-up buildings. You get the idea.
Be realistic when it comes to choosing whether something falls into the “Wants” or “Needs” column. Stainless steel appliances are all the rage, but I’d call them a “want”. What you need is working, reliable appliances. Changing them out for stainless steel is something you can do down the line. If the current appliances are ancient (more than 10 years old) and/or non-functioning, the cost of replacing them is a negotiating point when it comes time to make an offer, isn’t it? In order to move in and be comfortable, functionality should trump esthetics.
Face it. Unless you have a home custom-built and decorated to your specifications, the odds of finding an absolutely perfect property are not likely. Once upon a time the property you are looking at was the embodiment of someone else’s dream. It has been personalized through their occupation and decorations. You can make it yours, but before you can do that, you have to be able to see the property’s potential to fulfill your vision.
Look past paint color. Look past light fixtures, drawer and door pulls, curtains, carpets, plants used to landscape the yard or balcony. All of these are easily changeable, customizable to fulfill your vision. What are not changeable are location and the basic bones. As long as those are good, you should consider the property. Buy it and make it your own.
I recently sold a single-family row house on Bloomfield Street that had the location and “good bones” but was in need of renovations. The eventual buyers saw the home's fantastic potential and their opportunity to customize it to their liking. They are now well on their way to having the customized home that they envisioned and within the budget that they set.
The Ben Franklin list proved to work great for them! Give it a try, and see if you too will soon be on your way to having YOUR perfect home!
About Eddie: Eddie Perez is a resident of Hoboken and works as a New Jersey licensed Broker – REALTOR. His goal is to educate both buyers and sellers so that they can make the most of their bottom line while saving time and having fun during the process of buying or selling condominiums and brownstones in Hoboken and the surrounding metro communities including Jersey City and Weehawken, New Jersey. He has personally sold over 135 homes and is among the top-producing agents in Hudson County. You can email questions to eddie@InvestHoboken.com. To schedule an appointment to meet with Eddie, call him direct at 201.344.2886 .