by Todd Lewys
It’s something that goes without saying; that is, everyone loves a bargain.
On the rare occasion where one does come along out of the blue, we revel in our good fortune.
However, there are instances where it’s hard to find a true bargain, such as when it comes to purchasing a home.
As it pertains to homes, bargains a few and far between, said REALTOR® Sean Kirady.
“The first thing I do when I meet with a client is explain to them that, for the most part, you get what you pay for in a home,” he said.
“Bargains are nice, but rare. More often than not, you get more value by paying a bit more for a home.”
The value Kirady is referring to is long-term satisfaction. Buyers who adamantly stick to a certain budget are often happy that they found a “bargain” in the short term, but ultimately unhappy with their purchase in the long-term.
“Simply put, in most cases, spending less on a home simply doesn’t work,” he said. “I’ve seen people move outside the city or buy an older home to save money, only to be unhappy that they’re spending too much time commuting in and out of the city, or on extensive renovations.
“The next thing you know, they’re moving a year later because the home didn’t work for them, and that move cost them money.”
REALTOR® Jeff Stern said the first thing he does with clients is have them write down what they need in a home.
“It’s essential to establish what a buyer’s goals are, so I always get them to make a list of what they need in a home, things that they absolutely wouldn’t give up. If I’m dealing with a couple, I’ll get them to write their list independent of each other.”
If there’s still some indecision regarding something like location, some clients will say they’re willing to “live farther out” in order to save money. It’s then Stern advises them to see if the long commute might be an issue.
“For example,” he said, “if a husband and wife say they’re fine with buying in North Kildonan or Canterbury Park and then making a 25 minute drive to work in another part of town, I’ll tell them to make that drive for a week, from Monday to Friday, and to explore the area. Do that, and you’ll know at the end of the week. In many cases, people realize it (bargain hunting) won’t work.”
Another strategy aimed at curbing the bargain-hunting mentality is to actually show clients what they’ll be getting for, say, $250,000, according to REALTOR® Lynda Mackie.
“I’ll take clients out to homes that are in the price range that they want to spend,” she explained. “Most of the time, the homes are not near the quality they want, and I say, ‘You see, here’s what you get for this kind of money.’ It’s all about educating the buyer.”
She added it’s often all about being brutally honest with bull-headed bargain hunters.
“It’s not always pleasant, but sometimes you need to come straight out and say, ‘This home simply won’t work for you,’” Mackie said. “It might be the home’s location, size, or it not having enough bedrooms to meet a client’s needs.
“The onus is on REALTORS® to be conscientious, not to just want to make a sale,” she added. “Clients have to listen to us and trust that we’re giving them sound advice.”
Kirady concurred with his colleague.
“As REALTORS®, we’re there for a reason — to provide our clients with sound guidance on purchasing a home,” he said. “It’s up to us to establish trust. Once a client knows we have their best interests at heart, they need to listen, because we do this all the time.
It’s my job to help clients see the value in maybe spending a bit more to get a home that meets all their needs.”
Stern said the only way to find the right home for clients is to take a collaborative approach.
“Of course, clients need to rely on us for sound advice, but as REALTORS®, we also have to listen to clients and watch their responses to be sure they’re not changing their thoughts along the way,” he said. “Buying a home is an emotional process. We want to make it a rational, unhurried process so that clients take the time to think things through.
“That way,” he added, “they’ll avoid bargain-hunting, and be satisfied with their home in the long run.”