Interest rates…foreclosures…short sales…prices going up…prices going down…the information about real estate is abundant. In fact, it is so abundant that you can generally find just about any information you need to support whatever position you might personally have about buying and selling real estate.
For example, if you are a first time homebuyer, there’s the $8,000 tax credit, the great interest rates and good buys. But then, there’s the nagging fear that you might overpay for a property. As a seller, you can find information that it’s a bad time to sell because of the prices or a good time to sell because there are so many buyers out there and the home you buy will most likely be a good value.
I met a young couple with two small children a few months back. He was very well educated on the market. He had a large folder under his arm as he was gently putting a pacifier back into his baby daughter’s mouth as she cooed in a stroller right next to him. His eight-year-old daughter was engaged in a significant debate with her mother over the possibility of a stop at McDonald’s after a long day of house hunting. He patiently explained to me that he had carefully researched the market and he was determined that he would not pay a penny more than he had to for any home he would buy.
As I looked over at his beautiful family and observed the obvious caring and responsibility he had for their lives, I quietly asked a few questions. “What’s important to you in your next home?” “If you found a home that was a great value, but the school was not acceptable for your daughter, would you still buy it?” “What homes have you seen that you liked?” “Why did you like them?”
It turns out that there are very important features needed for this family in their next home. They have a beloved dog that needs a big yard to run in, both parents love to cook and the older daughter was promised her very own room in their next home. They all loved trees and wanted to be near a park with a playground and a community center to play tennis nearby was a big plus.
A slow realization came over this young father’s face. He was learning something those of us in the business for a long time have known all along. Residential real estate is an emotional buy. A home is a place to live, to laugh, to play, to cry and to experience life in a most wonderfully human way. It becomes a part of the family’s history sometimes as strongly as any other factor in our lives. It is more of an investment in the quality of our lives than even a financial investment.
Do you need to pay attention to value? Of course you do and you need the guidance of a trusted real estate professional for a hundred reasons from location, condition and future salability to financing, affordability and local factors such as schools, shopping and proximity to health care. But once you’ve picked the professional to give you that guidance, you will be able to focus on what really matters in a home — the lives that are going to live there. And once all the information is in and the search is in process…relax, and buy it for the love.