Buyer April 9, 2020

What I’m Looking for When I Buy a Home

One of the things a good real estate professional will do when they sit down with a new client is have a “Probing” session.  During this conversation what we’re looking to uncover are “Benefits” of the “Features” that you’re looking for, to help you “Crystallize” on what’s important to you.

So, let’s explain with an example:

Say you’re looking for a 4 bed, 2 bath home with a 2-car garage in a neighborhood with good schools.  These are all “Features” of a home, which are great starting point.  However, they don’t really help an agent understand why they are important or what your motivations for wanting them are.

As your agent, I’d say “That is fantastic, can you tell me a little?”  And here’s where it gets interesting because we start to uncover the “Benefits” of why these are important.  “I’m married and we have 3 kids and we want each of them to have their own room.  We’d like at least 2 baths, one in the Master and one for the kids.  Oh, and I’d like all the bedrooms on the same floor, which if both baths are upstairs, then we need a ½ bath on the first floor for guests.  And I’m now thinking it, if we have family visit from out of town, it would be great if they have their own space. Etc…”

And here is where we see “Crystallizing” begin.  The client is beginning to picture their home and their true needs, not just where we started.  Again, a good agent would prob into each of the areas that seemed important to really understand how to identify the right property for the client.

So what’s important to me when I’m looking for a home.  Here was my list of features for the home I purchased last year.  Want to try and guess the benefits in each of these and why they were important?  I’ll cover a few of them after you’ve had a chance to review the list.

· Not on a corner    · Not highway facing or having road noise    · Not backing up to a hill    · No steep driveway    · No weird smells inside    · Not too far from SLC

· No one looking down on house    · No blond oak staircase railings    · Flat Lot    · Space for a garden    · 3-car garage    · Quiet neighborhood    · Lots of windows for natural light

· Move in ready, but doesn’t have to be update or new    · Near things like a grocery, restaurants & shopping    · Mountain and valley views    · Has a pool    · Above the smog/inversion

· Cozy feel with deck/patio    · Near a park, open space or hiking trails    · Front and back staircase    · On a winding road    · Good sunlight, South facing, Morning sun

I know, there are some very specific and odd things on the list.  And it doesn’t even cover the size or number of beds/baths.  Where are those?  Were they not important?  Well the answer is yes and no.

My 1970's Rambler

For 2019, the average single-family home that sold in Salt Lake County was 2,697 square feet with 4.1 beds and 2.7 baths.   That meant it was highly likely that any home we looked at would have been big enough for our basic needs, and the benefits we wanted were access to recreation, privacy, and convenience to things.   Did we get everything on our list, no, and we’re OK with that because no house has everything.

·  “Windy roads”?  It’s just been our experience that curvy roads tend to have more architecturally interesting, older homes on them.  They also tend to be quieter streets because it’s hard to drive fast down them.

·  “Good sunlight?”  Well we moved to Utah from Ohio where we only saw the sun on average only 176 days a year.  That’s less than half of the time.  Those aren’t partly cloudy days either, but full on grey.  Note: SLC has an average of 222 sunny days.

·  “No blond staircase?” This just means no colored stain was applied when it was finished.  It was a way of finishing the floors in homes built/renovated in the 90’s and means to us, a type of home we don’t really like or that it was flipped by someone 30yrs who may not have known what they were doing.

So with all of this, I hope this article gives you some things to think about when you meet with your real estate professional next.  I promise it will not only help you find the house of your “Real Dreams”, but it will also make their job of finding you the house much easier.

Thanks for your time.  If you’d like to talk or send me your thoughts, I can be reached via email @