“I know the price. That’s not what I’m asking. What does he want?“
It was a few years ago and, newly engaged, my soon-to-be wife and I were looking for a new home. Having bought (and then sold) two different houses in Los Angeles, I knew one thing for certain: It takes forever. Days upon days of driving around neighborhoods; silently judging potential neighbors; going through strangers’ homes and saying things like, “Well, we’d have to gut the bathroom” or “Come on honey, that big giant moose head is cool”; having potential neighbors silently judging you back … it’s a seemingly endless process that qualifies somewhere between “brutal” and “soul-crushing.”
I was prepared for the worst.
Our realtor, however, quickly shrugged off our concerns. It’ll take an hour. An hour? Yes, he said, an hour. As he pointed out, we had pretty specific parameters: we had my three soon-to-be stepsons to think about, so we needed a house that not only had room for them, but was near their father and didn’t require them to change school systems.
“How many homes do you think are in this city? There’s fewer than 19,000 houses in town, no one is selling because of the economy … there are exactly five, count ‘em, five houses that meet your criteria and price range,” he’d told us.
Could it be that easy? I am the questioning sort, always have been, so I did what I always do (and somehow have managed to make a living doing): I went to my computer and started researching.
He was right. There were five.
But then there was this sixth house that met all of our criteria but had no price listed. And even better, it had been on the market for two years. Maybe they were lowering the price? I asked my realtor about it and he said, yeah … that house is way out of your price range. With three kids, a wife and potentially more kids on the way, price range was very important to us. We have a lot of college to pay for. But I said, “Let’s look at it anyway. You never know.”
When buying a house, the most common question is “What’s the price?” And, if it’s been on the market for a while, it’s “what’s wrong with it?” Those weren’t the questions I asked, because those weren’t the right questions.
Thanks JJP for sending me the article.
Click below for a link to the complete article.