If I had a nickel for every time a client said “I want to buy a forever home,” I’d be writing this blog from my own private island. It’s probably the thing I hear most when helping people buy a home and I get it. I do. But, I’m going to be honest… it makes me wince just the teensiest bit because I’ve been a Realtor for a good long time and I’m not sure that such a thing exists. Actually, I’m fairly certain it doesn’t. So, what to do when a client utters those magic words? I take off my Realtor hat and put on my mind-reading hat and try to help them figure out what the idea of a “forever home” really means to them. And, even more importantly, what it means to them RIGHT NOW.
We’ve all heard that funny phrase, “I’m not looking for Mr. Right. I’m looking for Mr. Right Now.” It’s kind of the same idea when hunting for a “forever home.” What most clients really mean is when they mention a “forever home” is “This process of buying and/or selling a home is super stressful and I’d prefer not to do it again any time in the near future – or ever — so let’s just find the perfect home that will suit me and my family for the rest of time and we’ll all live happily ever after.”
And what I reply in my calmest, gentlest, most soothing voice is, “I can help. I can help you find a home that will be great and will grow with you. Instead of searching for Mr. Right… let’s find Mr. Right Now… a home that fits your lifestyle and the lifestyle you hope to have someday!” And then we get busy.
We talk. We drink coffee. We talk some more. I get to know them. I ask questions. Approximately 4,358 questions. Do they have a large family? Are they buying a home for the first time? Are they downsizing? Are they expanding their family? Will they ever? Do they have elderly parents that need to live with them? Will they ever? Do they have pets? Do they have any disabilities? How many children? How old are those children? Are they in school? Do they go to public or private school? Are they willing to change schools? What do they do for a living? How far are they willing to commute? Do they lead an active or sedentary lifestyle? Do they prefer rural or urban? Close neighbors or acres in between? One story? Two story? Basement? Pool? Little lot? Big one? Master Up? Master Down?
And for all those 4,358 questions, I get bazillions of answers and even more “I guess I don’t really know.” “I’ve never thought about that.” “How could I possibly know the answer to that question, now?” And, there it is folks… the reason why the concept of a “forever home” is a fairy tale. It’s a lofty goal, a worthy expectation, but in reality, we can’t know the answer to every question because we can’t know what the future holds. But, we can make good decisions based on good information and that good information starts with taking a long, hard look at where you are RIGHT NOW and where you want to be in five years. Not fifty… that’s impossible to know. But, if we can have an honest dialogue about what’s important now and how you want your life to look in five years, I can help you find a fantastic “right now” house that might, maybe, possibly be better than any “forever” home you could imagine.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about what a wonderful “right now” home might look like for different types of home buyers. I’ll write about first time home buyers, families with growing families and finally empty-nesters. We’ll dig into what’s so enticing about the idea of that “forever” home and see if we can’t find a happy medium… a beautiful home that feels just totally right, right now.