Like Marriage, Buying a House in Houston is a Compromise
Searching for perfection in anyone or any Houston home is futile.
Like humans, there is no such thing as a perfect house or a home that will fulfill all of your real estate buying needs. Urban real estate inside the City of Houston for the average single family home is very costly for most. On average expect that price tag to be above $250,000 easily when DIRT VALUES alone sell for that much and more within 3 miles of Houston Downtown.
Unless you have INexhaustible wealth, even custom made homes designed to your tastes have limits, parameters, and boundaries whether of form, function, material, or more. Buyers cannot get everything they want now. The search for perfection and finding everything in their priority list is a doomed effort and a waste of everybody’s time. LESSON: NO to everything you want right now. It doesn’t work that way.
Like marriage you have to take every home with its good and bad. Prioritize your top 3 requirements and accept the compromises that come as a result.
Here are a few suggestions on the most common priorities that make buyers and buyers’ agents crazy when searching for perfection in a home.
TOP 3 truths about compromises inside the City of Houston!
- LOT LOCATION costs a premium in most urban cities (Houston is a bargain in comparison to LA, NY, SF, ATL). Obviously, lot location CANNOT be changed. Thus as a buyer, PAY the premium for the dirt, buildout, and views OR accept you will live in a less appealing lot location and compromise…………….for now. Maybe on the next home you can afford the lot location (West University, Houston Heights central, Camp Logan, Upper Kirby, Southampton, and Rice Village). As such, move this requirement down the list if you cannot afford it. Trust your Realtor’s suggestions for home and neighborhood. HAR Realtors review inventories DAILY at many price points, for many types of clients, and understand what the most appealing neighborhoods cost to buy into them.
- AESTHETIC CHOICES like floors, cabinets, surfaces, colors of walls, doors, windows (I call them skins) CAN BE CHANGED with less cost than asking builders for changes with their profit margins added to the cost of material and labor. If lot location is your priority above how a home is finished, then accept that your skins might not be all you want. They can be changed later in resale homes or added during pre-construction for new homes in process. But keep in mind, a builder’s first priority is to sell inventoried homes to get them off their tax and debt burdens. So inventoried new construction offers better deals for buyers….as long as buyers are willing to accept the existing finishes and aesthetics. Or pay the premium for changes, but don’t expect champagne at beer pricing. Be reasonable.
- INTERNAL SYSTEMS – such as mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and structural systems of homes like the human skeletal and internal organ systems are costly to modify, change or replace in comparison to the surface aesthetic skins. And the higher the quality of work and materials; the more expensive the change. The more qualified the surgical workmanship, the more expensive the outcomes. Same for humans as it is for homes. An alley UNcertified surgeon in comparison to board certified surgeon will yield very different outcomes. Expect to get what you pay for when changing major internal systems inside your home. If this is a priority, as it should be but often isn’t for first time home buyers, then pay attention to the systems inside both resale and new construction homes. For resale homes, pay special attention to the age of plumbing lines and their connection the City of Houston sewer system. Be prepared to pay an additional inspection fee for a hydrostatic testing of the plumbing system to find out whether those water lines have been maintained and do not have future risks such as cracks and leaks. If a home is remodeled, ask your Realtor to ask the seller’s listing agent whether the water and sewage lines and connections were also improved or just the piping for plumbing behind the house walls. Same for the electrical wiring behind walls, foundation, roof, and HVAC among the top targets. THIS is an important reason why Realtors are essential to work with you through your journey during your search, negotiations, and contract. Inspections are essential to your buying leverage. If you believe finding a home a difficult, tally the risks you may miss if you don’t have the time to think about all of these risks during your search and contract for purchase. And guess who represents you during that process? The builder? No. The owner’s agent? No. The owner. No. Your buyer’s agent represents you by agency if you signed a buyer’s rep form, no one else. (Future article on this buyer’s agency).
Compromising is a great skill to learn and practice; whether in marriage, employment, relationships, home buying, and even in home selling. But that’s another article as well.
Get your priorities straight from the beginning and your home searching and house buying will be optimized. TRUST your Realtor’s recommendations and work WITH them on your priorities. An experienced Realtor is as important as an experienced teacher, lawyer, doctor, or surgeon. This is the biggest expenditure that you will have as a buyer across a lifetime and you will probably buy 2-5 homes during your lifetime.
Let the first home be a transition home and urge your Realtor to review the value added and upsides in that neighborhood. Give up the target on perfection. Again perfection is futile at any time in life. Learn how to compromise sooner than later and life will be much easier and better. Happy buying!
Written by Gisele Waters, Ph.D. / firstname.lastname@example.org
Gisele has a zealous passion for urban city living and helping consumers make smart urban-lifestyle choices. Her multilingual and multicultural background laid the foundation for real estate sales across a remarkably diverse clientele in residential, investment and commercial real estate. As a Realtor® since 2004, a wide bandwidth of business and team management skills has been honed by working through each contract/transaction life cycle from end to end with success. These experiences in analysis, negotiation and her expertise in cognitive science lend to the understanding of her clients and their motivations at a deeper level than most. All serve as the basis for optimal relationships with clients and consensus building with principals that have conflicts of interest. Management of a diverse clientele has been strengthened by seamless adaptation to delicate challenges and unique dynamics present in all transactions. As a prior teacher and professor; Gisele leans into her nurturing and education of clients that most need a broader understanding of the real estate transaction. She also loves being inside beautiful well-built homes that create new lifestyle opportunities within the City limits.