A couple of weeks ago the Realtor website ran a 90-second video about How to Buy with a core message that could be helpful to anyone who has set about house hunting in Western Washington. The theme was about the value of compromise—not insisting on a rigid checklist of predetermined criteria to be the be-all/end-all for house hunting ventures. That’s practical advice to keep house hunting budgets in line with reality. The four requirements for which flexibility was advised were:
- Space (square footage)
- Yard size
- Architectural style
Although too much flexibility for all four would leave shoppers without a place to start, it’s a list that could be a useful tool for Seattle region house-hunting expeditions—once you decide on an order of importance you attach to each one.
In another way, too, it’s a valuable list to think about: I’d call it the basis for “dream house” searches. Real estate literature often speaks of “finding the house of your dreams” as if that’s how most buyers frame their search—but unless the price is literally no object, that’s not actually what most people expect.
For the here and now, the majority of Seattle to Issaquah area house hunting ventures are a lot more reality-based. Today’s buyers are more likely to set out hoping to find what might better be thought of as a “surprise house.” That would be one that has everything they need, most of what they want, and something else: some feature or features that they hadn’t anticipated. It might be an outdoor hot tub or a two-faced fireplace. It could be a one-of-a-kind water feature in the backyard, or kids’ tree house. Sometimes that large or small unlooked-for extra feature turns out to define the property.
House hunting is simply unlike any other kind of shopping expedition—and one that remains an ever-fascinating activity. One of the best parts of our profession is accompanying my clients as they make their own discoveries and arrive at their final decisions.