Working with first time buyers is one of the privileges of being a Realtor. The level of excitement and intensity is unmatched by any other group. After the initial interview and set up process the home hunt begins in earnest. It has been my experience that buyers will naturally narrow their search after a couple of trips out and will become attracted to a couple of neighborhoods returning over and over again. Here's where we as the buyer's agent need to be careful not to get trapped in their neighborhood narrowing possibly eliminating "the one" over something as simple as biased focus: meaning they are narrowing the search but should we as the agent?
When I observe that my first time buyers are diligently searching for that gem within the boundaries of a certain niche neighborhood but not finding the right home, I start to reassess what is the focus of their search. Sometimes it's the style of home, not necessarily the neighborhood. The ability to distinguish between the two can fill the void between a successful home purchase and weeks of unproductive showings.
Now is the time that I do the leg work and earn my keep providing that gentle shove to get my buyers out of their newly formed comfort zone and open up other potential areas with similar homes that seem to appeal to them. It only takes one or two trips out with my buyers to start to get a "feel" for what features they are attracted to and what style of home is at the top of the list. The danger zone is when the Realtor allows that neighborhood narrowing to affect them as well as the buyer.
Behind the scenes research is where we as the Realtor uncover those matches that make us the hero of the day. Yesterday I honored my buyers request to view another batch of homes within the boundaries they had set for themselves, but this trip took on a new twist as I added in a couple potentials of my own from another niche neighborhood knowing the features that were at the top of their list. I saved my hidden gems for last and innocently planted the seed of curiosity. With no luck but a couple of ho-hum potentials on their list we headed over to just take a looksy at some of my out of the box choices.
It was a Kodak moment when we drove up to one of the homes and I could hear the quiet murmur of curiosity over curb appeal. Their interest began to peak with a few glimpses through windows but the moment of pure joy escalated as I let them inside the front door. It was as though I had designed it from their wish list: the wood burning fireplace, hardwood floors, large picture windows with views, open kitchen with cabinets without doors, master suite with fireplace, modern baths, a basement with private entrance for a renter, lots of private parking, and in a neighborhood filled with a mix of historical homes. To watch the excitement level increase over each new discovery was worth the hours I spent behind the scenes trying to find just the right place that captured the essence of what their perception of the perfect home would be. Today we will write an offer but it took a shove to get my buyers outside their comfort zone and into their dream home.