Most people looking for a home have a ‘wish list’; a set of criteria which they believe encompasses their main requirements in a new property. These lists are compiled sub-consciously and consciously, sometimes over many years. They can change and adapt over time, and of course they can grow and shrink as life events influence them.
One of the challenges which all buyers face is that final decision to buy. Human beings in general hate making decisions. Even ‘Type A’ personalities, those with strong convictions and a dominant nature, can start to falter when a decision of such huge proportions and impact needs to be made.
When we talk in detail about the challenges facing buyers, one word always comes up; compromise.
Whether you’re looking up to £100,000 or £10m, all buyers need to compromise. The ‘perfect’ property simply doesn’t exist. Like everything in life, perfection is an aspiration rather than a reality. There isn’t a perfect home, a perfect job, a perfect partner. Living with ‘things’, both animate and inanimate, involves compromise and understanding. It’s just how it is. ‘Perfect imperfections’.
Buyers always err on the side of caution when choosing a home. This is natural. It’s a huge financial and emotional commitment. there is nothing irrational about this. However, one of the saddest parts of my job is speaking to people who saw a home in June, discounted it because there were a couple of things that didn’t meet their ‘wish list’, and then come back in August only to find that the property is now sold to someone else. What’s happened throughout that time? The answer lies in the ability of an individual, having viewed 10 more homes in their chosen area, to make a conscious decision to compromise on their wish list. They can only make this decision having seen alternatives, made compromises, and re-assessed which homes met with most of their criteria, rather than all of them.
So how can you reach a compromise? And what will you compromise on? Only you can decide this, no-one can tell you or instruct you. To help you reach your decision below is a typical model or pattern of buying criteria laid out in clear, concise way based upon the most common criteria for over 98% buyers. We call it the homebuyer's paradigm, as paradigms are often used as frameworks for typical patterns and behaviour in psychology.
The Homebuyer’s Paradigm
· Square footage
· Size and number of bedrooms / bathrooms / kitchen
· Outside space
· Potential Size
· Inherent desirability of area
· Proximity to public transport
· Proximity to good schools
· Proximity to road transport
· Proximity to shopping and leisure facilities
· New build, older, or period home
· ‘Fixer upper’
· Minor modernisation
· Show home condition
· Within a desired budget
· Over budget but worth it
· Under budget but with potential
· Fixed maximum price
The paradigm is a clear and concise summary of the main buying criteria in a home. The crucial element of the paradigm is that compromise is a fundamental aspect of the decision-making process. From the 4 criteria above, you should aim to secure a home matching 2 of your criteria, but in order to do so you will need to compromise on the remaining 2 criteria.
Let’s look at an example:
A buyer is looking for a property within 5 minutes’ walk of the local station, and in excellent condition. Whilst they will find a property that’s close to the station and in good condition, they will have to compromise on the fact that it will be smaller than a similar property further away, and carry a premium over properties which are not in as good decorative order. In this example therefore:
LOCATION + CONDITION = COMPROMISE SIZE + PRICE
In another example:
A family have a maximum budget of £450,000 and are looking for a well presented 4 bedroom house within the catchment area of a good local school. Whilst they will be able to find a home in their budget, they may need to compromise on the number of bedrooms and be prepared to do some work on the property.
PRICE + LOCATION = COMPROMISE SIZE + CONDITION
Using these 4 fundamental criteria, and selecting 2 of them gives a visual and indicative realisation that in order to meet some of the search criteria, buyers need to compromise on other elements of their requirements to find a suitable home.
In my experience, I have found that buyers have to make these decisions for themselves. There’s no point telling them it’s the best property for them, they have to discover that by weighing up their criteria and working out which things they can compromise on and which they cannot. By using the ‘choose 2 of the 4 which you can’t compromise on’ rationale, like the examples above, buyers can clearly see where their priorities are and then make their own choices based on the properties available.
For buyers, this will reduce the time and effort in finding a home, streamlines the decision-making process, and provides a clear visual representation of their search criteria.
By understanding what is achievable and what isn’t, buyers will not only be more likely to compromise, but will find that their search is easier and less stressful. Every property is different, but by using this paradigm the process can become clearer, and with increased clarity comes an increased ability to make an objective decision as well as an emotional one.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer, portfolio investor, or looking for the ‘forever home’, try using this paradigm to work out which things you can and can’t compromise on. If you work on the basis that you will only truly meet 2 of the 4 main criteria, then it will help and inform your decision-making process.
If you're thinking of buying and need some impartial advice, get in touch with me - I'll be happy to help you.
0116 275 888