When you’re buying a new home, you can’t afford to have your needs lost in translation. But sometimes it can be difficult to put into words exactly what you’re looking for. After all, when searching for the perfect future home, you might be the kind of homebuyer who just “knows it when you see it.”
A good real estate agent will be able to translate your desires into a dream home that is just right for you. Maybe you want a big back yard – but while you’re looking at homes, you start to realize that there’s a difference between a “big back yard” with just enough space for your needs, and the kind of enormous lot where the maintenance would be more than you would want to have to take on. While you’re searching, your agent should be able to see this type of distinction through your eyes and point you in the right direction. Maybe you’ll hone down your vision of enormous cookouts and enough space to field a football team to something a little more manageable for your lifestyle.
A lot of homebuyers think that what they really want is a gracious old home with tons of charm. But again, maintenance comes into play. An old home can have a lot of problems simply because it is just that: old. Heating systems, plumbing, and the structure itself can all be in need of repair or replacement. Unless the seller or another previous owner has completely overhauled the home to make it seem just like new while still retaining the charm of its age, it might not be an investment that you want to make. A good agent should be able to gauge this immediately. Are you someone who has the time and financial resources to shore up an admittedly gorgeous but crumbling old Victorian with leaky pipes and cracks in the ceilings, or would you be satisfied with something a little newer and in better shape? Maybe “old” just means you aren’t interested in brand new construction – or that you want something with a little more character or sophistication.
If your agent is translating your vision correctly, he or she will realize that just because you want to live in a walkable neighborhood, you might not be willing to deal with trying to find parking for both of your cars each night on an urban street with limited space. Or your agent might understand that your definition of an “updated kitchen” doesn’t necessarily have to include a built-in refrigerator. And that your idea of storage space probably stems from what you’ve been accustomed to in your current home and is entirely different than another buyer’s expectations. Again, these are examples of where your real estate agent, by listening carefully and understanding your personal context, can translate your wish list into a tour of homes that will really be worthwhile for you to see.
How will you know whether your real estate agent speaks your language? That’s easy. Look for an agent with experience in the local market and a long list of happy clients who have landed in the homes of their dreams.