There is a common saying among real estate agents about buyers – which is “Buyers are Liars.” It stems from the initial conversations a buyer has with their agent and then they end up buying a home that doesn’t reflect what they said they wanted or could afford in the beginning. Many an agent has scratched his or her head wondering where and when did the buyer’s thought process shift during the course of looking at homes. However, the observant agent will know what is occurring to the buyer while showing homes. What is important to understand is when a buyer first starts looking at homes, instead of seeing what they want, they will see what they don’t want in a home. It’s a process of elimination. The buyer starts to see what they don’t like in a home and that is a key step in house buying. The buyers realize they really need a single story versus a two story. They thought they liked the great room concept but realize they really prefer rooms with some separation. They thought a specific neighborhood was “the one” but then realize their lifestyle is such where they would not be using the HOA amenities for which they would be charged monthly. A fenced yard for their pets is more important than proximity to shopping. An indoor laundry is fine but they would be ok with it in the garage if there was an extra half bath in the home. They learn they can afford a higher monthly payment which opens up better opportunities. And so on.
When a buyer first starts looking at homes, the search pendulum swings wide. As homes are viewed and crossed off the list, the important criteria surfaces to the top and the search pendulum tightens up. It is a natural process, but many buyers don’t want to acknowledge they really didn’t know what they wanted at the beginning. Agents who don’t understand this process get frustrated as they keep showing the wrong homes. They don’t ask questions, nor do they observe their client’s patterns during showings. Both parties get irritated with the other and this is when a buyer is most likely to find a new agent – one who listens and asks questions. A great agent will suggest looking at a house that, at first blush, does not meet the search criteria. Through his/her observation and listening, the agent has learned there are some features that would meet the buyer’s needs in a different configuration of a home. The take-away on home searches is to realize it starts out as a process of elimination and then tightens up to where the moment the buyer walks into a home, they know they have found the home they want to buy.