One of the first things I ask new buyer clients is “Where do you want to live?”  Sometimes, they have a pretty good idea, like Clayton, or Webster Groves.  Other times, they don’t have a particular location in mind.  While we work to find options, buying a home that fits you and your style is our highest concern.

Your Options

As a home buyer, you can organize your decisions into two large groups.

Location.  Where do you want to live?  Do you want to live in a dense urban setting?  Do you want to live on a farm?  You need to have a pretty good idea about where you want to live before you are going to have any chance of success in finding your new home.  Also consider variations, for example, if you want a city environment, but don’t want to be living in a condo, consider looking at homes that have large yards.  Just keep in mind that there will be trade-offs.  A larger yard in the city is going to cost more than in the suburbs or in the country.

Style.  What type of house do you want to live in?  Ranch, bungalow, two story, split level, condo, etc.  If you know the style of home you want to live in, you will find your new home much faster.

It may seem simplistic to narrow down the decisions to these to starting categories, but I’ve found that the answers to these questions are essential to finding you the perfect home quickly.

When It Doesn’t Work Out

Years ago, one of my agent friends was working with a recently divorced plastic surgeon.  He wanted to move someplace fun, hip, and trendy.  He was in his late 60’s and there must have been some confusion to what he considered hip and trendy and what the agent did.  The agent mentioned a part of the city that was going through a renaissance.  The houses there were of large square footage, but the full renaissance hadn’t exactly been completed yet.  There was no off street parking, and there were homes on the same block that were in severe need of repair.  The doctor bought a house in that neighborhood.  The houses didn’t exactly match up to homes that fit him and his style.

I happened to see the doctor about six months later.  I asked him how he was enjoying his new home.  The doctor told me that it was the worst decision he’d ever made.  Why?  Turns out, he had a pretty nice car that had been vandalized a number of times.  Also, there were some homeless folks that would stay near the houses that needed work.  The nightlife that the surgeon was looking for wasn’t close to where he was living either.  Finally, the house had a lot of stairs; the bedrooms were upstairs, and the entrance to the house was almost 10 steps.

It’s Ok To Make Choices

It was a bad fit from the start.  Had the surgeon spent some time in the area before he’d bought, he might have avoided making the decision to move there in the first place.  There’s nothing wrong with making choices.  For example, if you can’t picture yourself ever living in a two story house, don’t go looking at two story houses.  If you think that a certain part of the city is too busy for you, don’t search in that area.  A lot of times, I see clients that don’t want to say no to anything and it ends up causing a lot of wasted time and energy.  You need to find a home that fits you and your style.  After all, your real estate agent isn’t the one who is going to be living in the house.