That Perfect House
Looking for a home, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, is a lot like looking for a mate. Each specimen you find has its own unique features, some great, some not so great – and the trick is to find one you can live with!
When clients give me a long list of things they absolutely have to have in a home, I know we might be looking for a long time, unless those clients have deep pockets! This is equally true if clients are looking for a particular feature that is not common or standard in the average newer home these days. For example, it is rare these days to find new homes, unless they are high-end models, with separate dining rooms. It is more common today for new homes to be built in the open concept style, with a kitchen, dining area and living room that flow together instead of being surrounded by walls.
I usually counsel my clients to make a list of everything they’d like in a home and then to cut that list down to 10 prioritized items. I also encourage my clients to differentiate between needs ("has to have 4 bedrooms, because we have 3 kids") and wants ("granite counter tops in the kitchen, rain shower in the ensuite").
- What are things you absolutely have to have based on family configuration, activities, possessions, etc.? For example, a family with two parents, three kids and a grand-parent living with them is going to need a different kind of home than a single person living with his dog. This is also true for a senior who no longer drives compared to an active young professional couple who travel extensively and use their home for work activities. And so on.
- What are things that would be nice to have but you could live without if you had to trade off one feature for another? For example, would a laundry room in the basement rather than on the main floor work if it means that some more critical feature is present in a home being considered?
- Are there things that could be changed in the future? For example, an unfinished basement can be a positive or a negative depending on the point of view of prospective buyers. Sometimes a home’s potential counts at least as much as its current condition.
- Notice I haven’t said a word yet about price.
Once a reasonable and well-edited list of must-haves is on the table, I caution my clients that compromise is a word they are probably going to hear a few times before the deal is done. If you have ten must-haves on your list and we are lucky enough to find a home that has seven of your desired features, I consider that a big success.