If Price Were No Object, What Would Your Dream House Look Like?

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

Included in Your Online Relocation Package for Anne Arundel County, Maryland - Home of Fort George G. Meade, NSA, Northrop Grumman, BWI, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Wish list

If you're looking for a home in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, this is something I'll probably ask you before we step foot into a single home.

Even though price IS an object, I do want to know what you're looking for.  It's the most important step of the home-buying process! 

When two buyers are involved - a couple or partners, for example - it quickly becomes apparent where there's a difference of opinion.  It's easy to laugh about those differences, in this context.  Some buyers never even dared think about what they really want, and they become downright giddy as they describe their log cabin on acreage with a view of the Smoky Mountains or other "impossible dream." 

How does this help, when I'm working with you to find a townhome in the Baltimore-Washington area?  Good question, so let's use that example...


View of the Smoky MountainsIf a log cabin with a view is your dream home, it tells me the townhome you buy from me is probably not your "forever" one; therefore, appreciation and resale value are very important.  It also says that a view is something you will appreciate, and you will treasure whatever privacy you can get.  It may even signal that you prefer a more casual lifestyle rather than a formal one.

The next phase of this conversation is to add in some realism here.  First, of course, is to identify items for your Long Term Goals, knowing (for example) that acreage is beyond your means at this time and in this place.  But that doesn't mean we can't make a serious effort to satisfy your housing wish list, within the restraints of budget, location, and timing.


Now it's time to get down to business! 

By that, I mean separating your WANTS  from your NEEDS.  Is a fireplace a "must have" or "would like to have" feature?  Do you need two bathrooms or, if everything else was perfect, could you live with one and a half?  Knowing this helps me choose homes to show you that are likely candidates for you to purchase.  It saves a LOT of time and aggravation for both of us. 

Today's buyers often come to me with a list of homes they found online, and those are the homes they want to see. 

Crofton townhomeMay I suggest that you bring the list of homes you found on the Internet, BUT also take the time to talk with me about your dream home; let's make sure we're on the same page about your WANTS and NEEDS, and review together the homes you found online.  After all, I really know the area and the inventory of available homes.  I may be able to save you time and money by suggesting other homes and communities; and some of the homes you found online may not fit your criteria at all.

You see, I'm more than a taxi-driver with a key to get inside homes that are for sale.  I'm a professional REALTOR with over 30 years experience.  My knowledge of Anne Arundel County real estate and the home-buying process will help make your home-buying transaction a smooth and pleasant one. 




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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Margaret - with your experience, I'm sure that hearing all of the long term goals might even help you find a combination that the homebuyer might not have thought about.  Looking up homes online is great, but it's hard to search for things like "stone patio" or "in law suite".   Great information!

Jul 06, 2008 03:00 AM #1
Harold "Hal" Place
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL

Hi Margaret,

Good approach for the buyer as well as yourself and or agents. Time is money not to menton the price of gas these days. Weeding out and identifying what the buyer really wants saves not only time buy much frustration.

Jul 06, 2008 06:21 AM #2
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Margaret, I like your "more than a taxi driver with the house key" approach. No one wants to waste time, yours or theres. Lots of questions help, but with many buyers as they see homes they change what their wants and needs are. That's where it gets difficult. I've concluded buyers don't know what they don't know. If they've never seen the five different styles of pools it is a real eyeopener for them.

Jul 06, 2008 06:59 AM #3
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

MARGARET - I've often thought about this for myself.  Since I work with someone that actually won the lottery, I've seen what the dream home can be.  It's important to note that the dream home of today might not be the same as yesterday or tomorrow.  I find features that I like, and then see something that I like even more.  However, this is a great way for buyers to get started with targeted home search.  Good post!

Jul 06, 2008 07:05 AM #4
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Penny, with selling new homes, I'll bet this is more or less what you do... you "build" the buyers' dream home with all the options; then, if it's over their price range, you start backing down options 'til you have a new home they can afford.  It's a little more cut and dried than with resale homes!

Hal, I find this open-ended question gets the juices flowing MUCH more easily than asking what buyers are looking for in a home.  Sometimes, if you ask the second question, they've already edited their list to what they believe is doable.  It's possible I could find what they really want, if only they'd been candid.

Gary, you're right - buyers don't always know what they want, but part of that is because they don't know what's available.

Jul 06, 2008 09:02 AM #5
Desiree Daniels
RE/MAX Tri County - Robbinsville, NJ

I loved the way this was written... very creative!

Jul 06, 2008 02:05 PM #6
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I like that approach.  It helps to ID what they are aiming for in the future. My area is very, very expensive.  I have to really work with people on the needs vs. wants. Usually one partner wants more house while the other wants less overhead.  It helps to bring these differences into focus.  It also might help focus people on the ultimate goal....Too many obsess about what they can afford NOW and fail to recognize that getting to the dream house requires baby steps.

By keeping ultimate goals in mind really might help to focus younger people that they have to bite the bullet to get to reach their goals.

Jul 06, 2008 08:24 PM #7
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Adam, what fun!  Did you sell your lottery-winners smething really fabulous?  Do you keep in touch?

Desiree - How do you have time for the "rest" of ActiveRain while doing the M2T contest?

Ruthmarie - It's very conversational, and a fun conversation.  It always surprises me how often I go back to it, during the course of showing property.

Jul 07, 2008 12:18 AM #8
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Margaret...Selling waterfront and water access property puts me in the market where people are buying their "dream" house.  It is interesting how their thoughts of what they want sometimes changes as they look and it is not always predicated on price.

I like your approach.  It helps your clients focus which helps all of you.


P.S.  Sometimes we are volunteer tour guides, not even paid taxi cab drivers.  That's part of the job.

Jul 08, 2008 04:21 AM #9
Sandi Bauman
Chico Homes Real Estate - Chico, CA
Chico CA Realtor

Margaret-  what a GREAT shot off the deck!  That's enough to make me start dreaming  :)

Jul 10, 2008 04:42 PM #10
Not Yet Licensed

Hmm.  Very interesting question!  If price were no object, I'd like to have something like this: 


Now, getting back to reality, I really like the way you approach your clients.  I'm sure you've helped many people clarify their thinking with this type of question, which will result in them making better home buying decisions.  Thank you for this tip.

Jul 10, 2008 06:27 PM #11
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I'm more than a taxi-driver with a key to get inside homes that are for sale.

Very well stated.  Your knowledge of the market is what sets you apart, and knowing how to apply that knowledge to each buyer client.

Jul 28, 2008 08:57 PM #12
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier

Great post!  By asking buyers this question fisrt you'll be able to get them to focus on their needs after they tell you their wants. 

Jul 29, 2008 02:45 AM #13
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Thanks, David, Georgina, Sandi, and Kathleen - I appreciate your comments, and will reciprocate when I have better access to Internet.  Probably around August 10.

Jul 29, 2008 03:00 AM #14
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