Market Update: Is ‘Settling’ A Strategy For Buyers?

Are you waiting for ‘the one’? Do you dream of 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a pool and white picket fence? Have you been holding out for a move-in ready home in your dream neighborhood at your perfect price point? If you are a potential buyer, chances are you have something in mind – and are wading your way amidst stiff competition and tight inventory to find it. A common question that my buyers ask themselves after a few weeks, or months of searching is…at what point do I settle for a home that is less than ideal?

It may seem like a silly question – as no rational human being plans to make the biggest investment of their life in something they don’t really want. But at the same time, buyers struggle with the alternative of throwing away ridiculous rent payments, missing out on homeownership tax breaks and losing purchasing power as rates and home prices rise. Here are 4 questions to help you assess if ‘settling’ is even an option, followed by 1 thing you should NEVER compromise on.

4 Questions For Home Buyers To Ask Themselves

  1. Are my expectations realistic in the current market, given what I can afford? When inventory is tight and sellers have the upper hand…your list of amenities may be hard to find – and that’s if you can afford them. Create a ‘wish’ list of everything you want in your potential home – and then circle the top 5. Chances are you can find some very viable options by prioritizing what you really want, and understanding what you really need. Is that 5th bedroom a necessity if it’s number 8 on your list? If that dining room for entertaining is number 3 – don’t stop until you find it!
  1. Are you past the rule of 8? Count how many homes you have walked thru since your search began. The rule of thumb in general is that if you have seen 8 or more homes and have considered none of them…you either have the wrong agent or the wrong mindset. You might be looking for something that simply does not exist – or may not be communicating your desires clearly to your agent.
  1. What are you willing to compromise on? If you have ever dated…chances are the concept of meeting in the middle is not foreign to you. The same thing goes for picking the perfect house. Can you give up hardwood floors if the floor plan is perfect? Probably…since it is much easier to install new flooring than tear down or put up walls. Is an indoor laundry a necessity if the garage has ample room for your washer and dryer? If you cannot think of one item you would compromise on, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
  1. Are you competing in the right race? In a sellers’ market such as this, homes move at lighting speed and overzealous buyers are in full force. You may be really excited about a home and considering an offer $25k over asking…but are you doing it to win this home, or simply this deal? If you are ‘in it to win it’, make sure your focus and energy stay on the home you really want – not the desire to come in first place simply to shorten your search. It is the new ‘normal’ to miss out on your first few offers, but staying true to your budget and your needs is far more important than bragging rights for a home you sacrificed your 401k for.

The 4 questions above are designed to put you in a frame of mind that is reality-driven and firmly focused. There are some things you may need to compromise on and some wait times you should be prepared for. But if there is ONE thing you should never waver on…it is LOCATION. No matter how perfect the home inside and out, the cost of a two-hour commute, a low performing school district or your own safety is an absolute deal breaker. If your home search has brought you to an area that was never on your wish list – think again. Drive by the home at night, seek out neighborhood reviews on resources such as NextDoor and check the API scores and crime rates. If a home sounds way too good to be true…look at location, zoning and future development plans in that area. Your home isn’t just about the walls that surround you at night, but the community and city services that will support your family and lifestyle for years to come.

Happy hunting,
Bobbi Decker
VP Business Development & Broker Associate, Today Sotheby’s International Realty
Bobbi Decker & Associates
BRE 00607999
p. 650.346.5352
EHOBobbi Decker & Associates fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. For more information, please visit:
Home Buyers: Don’t Wait Forever for ‘The One’:
6 Ways to Uncover the Truth About Your New Home—Before It’s Too Late:

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