Aaaarghh! I Just Can't Decide!!! Let Me Ride On a Helicopter...
As inventory increased in the years following the "sub-prime meltdown" and we switched from a "seller's market" to a "buyer's market", many buyers experienced MORE DIFFICULTY in making a puchase decision.
(OK, hold it, wasn't it supposed to be easier, now that there are more choices available...??)
The fact is that having MANY options sometimes OVERWHELMS buyers and causes BUYER PARALYSIS!
Buyers are comparing different types of homes (private sales, short sales, lender-owned, foreclosure auctions) that have different advantages and disadvantages, features. special prices, incentives and gimmicks.
To keep the buying process organized and prevent confusion, I suggest that my buyer clients follow a process which starts with them pretending to be RIDING ON A HELICOPTER:
- First, they need to pretend they are HIGH ABOVE THE CITY - so they only focus on choosing their PREFERRED AREAS, using criteria such as commute time, property taxes, school districts, etc.
- Once they have chosen their preferred areas, they can "ask the pilot (i.e. me, their agent) to go down" and choose their PREFERRED NEIGHBORHOODS within those areas they selected. Choosing preferred neighborhoods may include riding around at different times of the day, researching demographic and crime statistics, engaging in conversations with neighbors, visiting the schools, asking people they know, etc. NOTE: There are a few questions - such as racial mix, quality of public schools. registered sex offenders, etc. - which South Carolina Realtors are not allowed to answer by law. But we can always give our clients the information sources for them to find the answers.
- Once they choose the NEIGHBORHOODS, they can now focus on picking the RIGHT HOME! This may involve comparing VALUE including size (square footage, acreage), number of bedrooms/bathrooms, age, construction, style, upgrades, curb appeal, price, terms, condition, etc.
By following this simple 3-step process, buyers find it a lot easier to pick the right property among the hundreds of available homes - and therefore avoiding confusion and paralysis.
Remember that you can always replace the roof, repaint the walls or fix the air conditioning system. But you will not be able to change the location, the character of the neighborhood or the distance from the work place. By using this narrowing approach, buyers are able to compare one home to another, knowing that all the BASIC FACTS about all of them (area, neighborhood, schools, crime, etc.) are no longer in the mix...!
Happy House Hunting!
Alan Donald is a REALTOR with BuyHomesInCharleston.com and Keller Williams Realty in Charleston-Mt. Pleasant, SC.