Will you settle for the house that is only 85% of your home search criteria?

Real Estate Agent with Reece & Nichols

The search is on for a new place to call home. The first step is to talk with a mortgage representative to understand the price range which you might qualify for within your financial comfort zone. Next, it's time to put together a list of your "must have" features of a new home. But, wait ....not so fast. What if you can't have everything?

As you make that list you must prioritize and be realistic. Understand, there is no such thing as a 100% perfect home. The reality is that you might not be able to have it ALL. Even when having a home custom built from the ground up (with thorough planning and generous budgets) there are often times when home buyers couldn't get everything on their wish list. It's human nature to always want a little more than one can afford.

So, expect to search for a home that meets at least 85% of your criteria while thinking about the things you might be able to do to make it a little more perfect over time (or perhaps live without).

If you must have a home with a fireplace, are you willing to act quickly on a home that has everything else? Or, will your criteria require you to go up to the next price range? If you're not coming close to finding an 85% perfect home then you might also need to reevaluate your price range.

Aside from adjusting your price, what else can you do when a house meets a majority of your criteria? Can you be creative? For example, if there is no fireplace don't scratch the property from your list. Instead, think of this as being something that can be added later on.

A good Realtor knows how to  hone in quickly on a buyer's likes and dislikes to make the home search as simple and time efficient as possible but in today's competitive market homes are selling quickly. Inventories of available houses are low right now and buyers are finding themselves competing with others for that cream puff home. The cream puffs are sometimes sold as fast as they come on the market. There is not a lot of time to wait and shop around if you find it today it could be gone tomorrow and you might wish you were a little more forgiving of the home that lacked a fireplace. SO, be careful to not be too picky.

There is no such thing as a 100% match when shopping for real estate. Each house will lack this or that and many will boast different features which you might love but cannot combine.

Wait, hesitate. You might make a big mistake. With other buyers on your heels, the market  is just not conducive to indecisiveness. For most home buyers, 85% perfect is almost as good as it gets.

Posted by


Carol Culkin ABR, SRES, Associate Broker (913) 333-8310

Licensed in Kansas, Missouri and New York

Carol Culkin - Associate Broker for Reece & Nichols, is your source for real estate in Overland Park and the bordering cities of Leawood, Olathe, Mission, Miriam, Lenexa and Shawnee, Stillwell and Spring Hill. Carol has been ranked as an award winning agent and offers her clients over 10 years of real estate experience.


Member of National Associations of Realtors®, Member of Kansas Associations of Realtors®, Member of Kansas City Regional Associations of Realtors®, Member of Heartland Multiple Listing Services, Member of the Women's Council of Realtors®, Member of Real Estate Buyer Agent Council (REBAC), Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR), Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Red Cross Volunteer - Greater Kansas City Chapter, Supportor of Cross-Lines Community Outreach.


15133 Rosewood - Leawood, KS 66224

Office: (913) 905-7600
Cell: (913) 333-8310
Fax: (913) 945-3600

 “as an individual agent, these are my personal opinions and not those of Reece and Nichols.”




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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Carol, I agree with getting close to 100%, but not getting it all. With buyers I like them to have three deal breakers they must have, like large kitchen, schools, large backyard, and IF they have 2 of 3, that house is OUT. All the other stuff becomes the trivial many and you can live with it, or modify later on. Bad floorplans are tough without knocking down walls.

Sep 03, 2013 05:13 AM #1
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Carol, another possibility is considering a different neighborhood.  The market area here is so big that I can always find a perfect house if they are willing to reconsider geography.

Sep 04, 2013 12:12 PM #2
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

I would also have to agree that it is very, very unusual for a home buyer to find everything they want in a home.  Most likely they will have to sacrifice something, but if you get them a home for the right price and in the right area, they are 100% satisfied.

Sep 07, 2013 12:03 PM #3
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Carol!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Hope you'll drop by and check it out!

Sep 08, 2013 12:11 AM #4
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I saw your post on Patricia's summary, and I can see why she included it!  Thanks !

Sep 08, 2013 12:12 AM #5
Brad MacKenzie
Brad MacKenzie - Duxbury, MA
Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore

Hmm, why can't I have it all? If there are 20 things I want, each worth 5%, I won't settle for getting 17.  It's out there.  I don't agree that you can be 100% satisfied if you've sacrificed something you want.

Sep 08, 2013 12:33 AM #6
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Carol, I am so glad Pat pointed me over here. How many times I tell buyers they may need to scale back a bit. Sometimes it takes them a while to figure it out, sometimes just a bit.

Great post!

Sep 08, 2013 11:12 AM #7
Elise Harron
Dirt Road Real Estate - Kingman, AZ
Rural Vacant Land and Development Specialist


I love your approach to this, I don't do many "homes" but I will remember this line of questioning the next time we are on a search!  85% will ring in my ears!  Thanks for a fabulous post and some very simplistic exucational material!  Cheers,

Sep 08, 2013 11:39 PM #8
Kathryn Gorham
Green Key Realty - Emerald Isle, NC
Emerald Isle NC Crystal Coast

I agree with you there is no such thing as a 100% perfect home.  But if you can get 85% of what you want, then that is pretty good compromise.  Thanks for posting! Enjoyed reading it!

Sep 09, 2013 12:12 AM #9
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Carol, Very well said and so true. I do not care how much money you spend if you build a dream home, you will always find something you wish you had done different.

Sep 09, 2013 02:12 AM #10
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

Many buyers end up falling in love with one feature of a house and their "must have" list is quickly forgotten. Those that won't bend don't buy!

Sep 10, 2013 04:50 AM #11
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality
I agree, there is no such thing as a perfect house. Years ago my husband and I had to have a two car garage we bought a house with beautiful rooms great yard and a one car garage. Go figure!
Sep 22, 2013 08:55 AM #12
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

It looks like we all love the comment about the perfect home being a figment of the imagination.  It is difficult for buyers to come to the realization that perfection is hard to find.

There is no such thing as a 100% match when shopping for real estate - See more at: http://activerain.com/blogs/caculkin#sthash.UF4LISR5.dpuf
Oct 08, 2013 04:35 PM #13
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