Trade-Offs

Five Compromises Worth Making When Buying a Home

Home buyers often start their search with a long list of must-haves, only to find they need to whittle down their list to remain within budget. Unless you’re a gazillionaire, it will be impossible to leave all the boxes on your wish list checked. So, how do buyers decide which pieces of their dream (home) they’re willing to give up?

In most cases, buyers will have to make compromises if they are to stay within their budget. We always tell buyers that if they can get 75% of what they are looking for they’re doing very well. What’s important for them to decide is which items on their wish list are must-have and which are less important and can be given up. Below are some commonly made concessions for buyers to consider:

Compromise #1 – Location  

It’s one of the first things buyers are willing to budge on. While finding a home within walking distance to work, shops, restaurants and public transportation is a buyer’s dream scenario, buyers do not want to compromise on their living space. Often the conveniently situated homes in a buyer’s price range are too small to fit their lifestyle needs, so the dream of a walk-to-town location very often will get removed from a buyer’s must-have list.

Compromise #2 – Square Footage

Not everyone is committed to doing every thing they can to keep from downsizing. If you’re willing to skip that guest room, playroom, or dining room, you may be able to stay within your budget and live in a nicer neighborhood. It doesn’t always make sense to devote a large portion of your housing budget and living space to have a guest room that will be rarely used. But, if your space needs might grow in the near future – say, if your family will be expanding – you might want to think twice
before moving into a tight squeeze.

Compromise #3 – Yard Size

When it comes to describing their dream home, buyers frequently say they want a large backyard. But in the Denver area, small lots are the norm and homes with large yards sell at a premium. After they’ve looked at a number of homes, buyers realize that the size of the back yard is not as important as the spaciousness of the interior of the home. In fact, when asked what they mean by a “large” backyard, the answer is almost universally the same: “large enough to fit a swing set.” Fortunately, this size yard is not difficult to find. But house hunters are less apt to compromise when it comes to the terrain itself. Buyers want a level yard to enjoy with their family and friends.

Compromise #4 – Awesome Garage

For first-time home buyers, it often comes as a surprise that not all homes have a two-car garage. Older homes, built in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, frequently do not. While there are homes that do not have a garage at all – and these homes are much harder to sell – buyers will often compromise and buy a home that has a one-car garage if the home has the other items on their must-have list.

Buyers are often flexible on the type of garage as well. Some garages are detached, which means that buyers can’t enter directly into the home from the garage. While some single-car garages are attached to the house, but have no direct entry from the garage into the house.

Compromise #5 – Specific Architecture

Often the first things buyers tell us about their wish list is that they want wood floors, granite countertops, and a specific architectural style. However, popular styles such as Craftsman Bungalows, Victorian, Tudor and Mid-Century Modern homes tend to be found in highly sought after neighborhoods and their prices can be very high. When buyers have taken some time to look at homes and consider their budget, a home’s aesthetics are usually the thing buyers are most willing to compromise.

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