Kim Finley, Realtor 2015

I love my home buyers.  I do, I really love them.  But I wish sometimes they had more realistic expectations of what is available and likely in their price points.  In the age of HGTV, House Hunters, and shows about rehabs and flips, we are overrun with inflated expectations of what our home buying dollar can really buy.

I currently have a home listed for $275K, an average price point in our region, 3 bed 2 bath and a very nice master suite.  I cannot count how many times I have heard prospective home buyers tell me the master bath is “kinda small.”  It’s TWO ROOMS with a garden tub and separate shower and water closet, and 2 sinks with tons of drawers and gorgeous maple cabinet storage.  But I keep hearing that it is “just not big enough.”

Which makes me wonder what type of master bath they are really expecting.  

Because if you watch enough of those shows, and I do binge watch ALL of them all the time, you see a lot of homes in other localities.  And I know for a fact that a $180,000 home in a suburb of Dallas is quite different than a $180,000 home here in Virginia Beach.  You get a lot more house for your buck in many other regions of the US than here in Hampton Roads.  So maybe an inflated idea of a master bath is common, but it is my responsibility to tell my buyers what is REALISTIC, what is LIKELY in their price range.  If I take buyers out with these expectations that are not going to be met, I have done my buyer a disservice; part of my job is educating my clients.

Same goes for the master bedroom.  Everyone wants, or thinks that they want a dressing room, or reading nook, or sitting area in their master suite.  Look, I have lived in a lot of homes with kids, with teens, and just alone.  You are not going to spend that much time in your bedroom,  you are just not.  Life is lived in the main areas of the home, the communal areas like the kitchen and family room.  Realistically, that is not NEEDED space and most of the buyers who tell me they want it cannot tell me the why behind that want.

Don’t get me wrong, “just because I have always wanted that” is a perfectly good reason for purchasing something that others may find impractical or unimportant.  

What you have to get real about is your budget.  In our competitive market here in Hampton Roads, a giant master bath in a home older than about 10 years is unrealistic unless you are in a higher end price point, as in $350K and up.  And even then, many of those homes values are held in the location of the home, such as proximity to the beach, to higher end school districts, to amenities like marinas and business centers.

So around here even your $400,000 price may only get you a 35 year old 3 bedroom ranch that has a kitchen that has been updated, but a master bath from last century, or vice-versa.  And you will want that house since it is 6 blocks from the beach and in a great school district with parks and pools.

Bottom line, you have to have realistic expectations and goals as you begin your home search.  

Do some homework if you think you might have inflated your purchasing power in your own head; look online in your price-point at various listings, get a feel for various neighborhoods you are considering and assess the REAL value of living there.  Make sure your “wants” list and your “needs” list are both realistic to your purchasing power. Don’t set yourself up to be disappointed. ASK your realtor for help with this if you are unsure. This way your realtor is not put in the position of telling what you really do not want to hear.  None of us like that situation; we want every one of our buyers to get the home of their dreams.

So keeps your dreams in the real zone, and good luck finding the home that is perfect for you!


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