Compromises homebuyers may consider range from different locations to yard size to architecture. Some features that seem like a must have get moved to the wish list. This is a hard market for buyers and sometimes those immediate must haves become things to add in a year or two.

Buyers often start their search with a long list of must-haves, only to find that there are lots of compromises homebuyers may consider once they have actually jumped into the market. No matter how much money you have (or don’t have,) it’s impossible to check all those boxes on the wish list. So, how do buyers decide what pieces of their dream (home) they’re willing to forget?  Expect to compromise. If you get 80% of what you want, you’re doing well!

Compromises Homebuyers May Consider Include Location Changes

In the DC metro area, many buyers are committed to a particular community such as Rockville or Ashburn.   Decisions are frequently made based on the quality of the public schools or proximity to metro.  Other buyers want to find a home that is within walking distance to the downtown area with shops, restaurants, and public transportation.  Homes in the Mosaic neighborhood in Virginia or Edgemoor in Bethesda or DC’s H Street Corridor check the boxes for convenience and proximity to shops and restaurants, but perhaps there is not a home big enough for the growing family.  Many buyers do not want to compromise on their living space.  After all, they live in the home. Sometimes these homes are too small to fit their lifestyle needs, or the larger in-town homes are simply above their price range. So the dream of a walk-to-town location very often will get removed from a buyer’s must-have list. Still other buyers figure that if they can get into the location of their dreams, they can add onto the home or remodel in a few years.  

As a homebuyer will you compromise on certain rooms or total square footage?

Not every buyer is insistent on getting all the square footage imaginable in their dream house. If you’ are willing to compromise on the extra bedroom, the playroom or the man cave,  you may be able to stay within your budget and live in the preferred neighborhood.  Consider whether the property  is large enough and the zoning flexible enough to allow for an addition at a later date when your budget is up to it.  Perhaps there is an extra room that can be repurposed or do double duty.  Can the home office handle a sleep sofa so that you can squeeze in a guest bed when your relatives come to stay?   After all, what is the value of keeping an empty room year round for the two or three weekends that you have house guests?   Many people feel the same way about formal dining rooms now, which they are willing to trade for a larger kitchen or a dining area in the family room. Compromises homebuyers may consider turn out to include repurposing rooms or waiting to add more space later through an addition or renovation.

Yard Size – Compromise?

Plenty of buyers dream of a yard big enough for an in ground pool or a vegetable garden until they see what they have to pay for it or to give up (like proximity to metro.)  Homes on two acres are lovely but they tend to be outside the Beltway in the DC area or they are beyond prohibitively expensive.

When it comes to describing their dream home, buyers frequently say they want a large backyard but what does that really mean?  Do they really want two acres or just enough room for a swing set and room to throw a ball to your four legged fur baby.  After seeing lots of places, however, many buyers realize that the size of the backyard is not as important as the spaciousness of the interior of the home. Sometimes the ability to fence a yard (for a dog or small children) is more important than the size of the yard itself.  So that means they have more homes to choose from, especially when inventory is low.   Once they have compromised on the size of the yard, then it is necessary to consider whether the yard has too many trees, is too hilly or looks out on an unpleasant view – like the neighbor’s trashy collection of old cars or the local pizza joint’s back door.  

Homebuyers May Compromise on a Garage

Some homebuyers moving from downtown DC to the suburbs want a home with a two car garage.  They are often surprised that not all homes have a two-car garage. Older homes, built in the early 1920s and 1930s frequently do not. Some homes do not have a garage at all or they have a carport.  A buyer who is determined to have a garage still may compromise and buy a home that has a one-car garage if the home meets the other items on their must-have list.

Buyers are often flexible on the type of garage as well. Some older homes have detached garages which means that buyers can’t enter directly into the home from the garage. And some single-car garages are attached to the house, but don’t have a direct entry from the garage into the house.  Of course, the reality is that most garages turn into a place to store all your excess stuff instead of your car! 

Homebuyers May Compromise on Architectural Style

So, you’ve spent a lot of time on Instagram and watched HGTV until you know more about Tarek and Christina El Moussa from Flip or Flop than you know about your own siblings.  Maybe you always pictured yourself in a Craftsman bungalow, until you saw the asking price.  Do you think your home must have a sun room or a mudroom?

Whether it be the architectural style of the house or type of kitchen counters, those things are one of the first things mentioned when homebuyers start to list their must haves or even their wish list.  But when compromises have to be made and they’ve had time to look at homes for a bit and consider their budget, the home’s aesthetics usually are the thing they choose to overlook because you can always renovate later to add those must haves.

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