Monday, November 23, 2009

Q: It's become clear that my partner and I will not be able to afford a waterfront place here, after all.

The houses in our price range are just not what we need or want. I suppose we could start looking at houses with a view, but will that even make a difference?

A: Once you eliminate the preference for waterfront in your price range, you will be looking at nicer, larger homes with a view. That also goes for the difference between inland homes that are on acreage, versus those on less than an acre. The acreage adds considerably to the market value of property. Looking at everything in your price range is probably a better way to discover for yourselves what you are willing to give up in order to have something that's more valuable and important to you.

I've been surprised many times when clients end up falling in love with a house or property that is very different from what they said they wanted. Most people really don't know what they want. They have some ideas, but those are often ideas formed by the things they don't like about their current home, or a list of preferences they've read about somewhere.

It's also common for people to want something that is just like their parent's home, or anything but their parent's homes. Sometimes their ideas of what will work for them are actually formed by what friends or family members tell them they should want. It's always worth the effort to examine those priorities you've set for yourselves to see how many of those wants and needs are really your own.

I'd like to suggest that we just look at everything in your price range. As we get into the winter months there will be a smaller and smaller inventory to choose from so it's good to see everything that's out there before you narrow your search. The most important thing for you is to become a part of our wonderful community and enjoy a slower paced, more rural lifestyle. That can happen in any house.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Q: I'm getting fed up with going out with my wife looking at houses to buy.

First she said she wouldn't consider anything that didn't have a view. When we realized that there are almost no decent houses in our price range that have a view, she switched to only wanting something on acreage. Frankly, I don't know what we'd do with a lot of land.

She doesn't like the places we can afford that are on a few acres, so I just don't know what to do. I really want to get something before the prices start back up and we can't afford anything here.

A: Hang in there. This is a common problem. We all start out wanting the moon and end up settling, happily, for a decent home we can afford. Especially on Vashon, which has a very small real estate market, it's almost impossible to find exactly what you want.

As you've heard me say to her, it's best to look at everything in your price range to get a better idea of what options you have. I call it a reality check. Even for those who have an unlimited price range, the choices are few. We just don't have that much turnover of property on the Island. That's a good thing for the community, but a frustrating thing for those trying to find a home here.

Maybe coming out on a nice day and looking at everything we have available in your price range will give her a more realistic view of the market. I am always surprised to discover that people often chose a place that was the complete opposite of what they told me they wanted.

You also might consider the possibility of renting here first. That way you can become a part of the Vashon community and continue to look for a place to buy. Even in a slow economy the best homes sell more quickly. If you're already living on the island I can notify you the minute a new listing comes up and you can see it that day.