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Buying a New Home 

Last month we sold our home; today, we move into a new home. The process has provided a lesson in what my clients go through and I believe we should all sell and buy our personal homes occasionally to step into our clients shoes. I have moved twice since I became a REALTOR®. Both times were to another state and this will be my last move. I think!

My Requirements 

We only have one child left at home, so we are downsizing. I knew exactly what I wanted in a home. It had to be ready to move in to. I don’t want to paint, change flooring, remodel the kitchen or the bathrooms. I don’t want to landscape, I want three bedrooms, an office, a large kitchen, a fireplace, three car garage and tree lined yard. I don’t want to look at my neighbor’s backyard.

Oh, and all on one level! Now, aren’t you glad you are NOT representing me?

What REALTORS® Thought

We did find the perfect home for us, with everything we want. Once I started talking to other REALTORS®, though, they all tried to sell me a home THEY have listed. Okay, I applaud them for doing their best for their seller, but they did not listen to me. No, I don’t want to make the living room an office. Yes, I need three bedrooms and an office. NO, I don’t want a two story. There may be a pond in the backyard, but there are no trees. A two car garage will not work. Are you sure you want to live in Indianapolis? YES!

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A Lesson Learned

I wonder how often this happens? Do we try to make a home fit the needs of our client instead of finding a home which does fit the needs of our clients? Do we take time to really listen and hear what they are saying? Like my clients, I am buying a lifestyle. A lifestyle which works for me. I’m sure my associate’s and peers don’t actually recommend homes to their clients in the same manner; still, the lesson is one I will not forget.

Written By

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.



  1. Lisa Sanderson

    October 31, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    That is a great lesson that everyone needs to learn. The lesson I learned from buying & selling my own real estate was about the emotion involved in the process. I did not have a clue until I did it myself. I was a basket case at every step in the process and this experience made me a much better, more compassionate agent to others.

  2. Paula Henry

    October 31, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Oh, Lisa – we won’t even get into the emotional part – it was plain crazy. There were a lot of lessons learned during the process, but having my agent friends and associates try to make their listing work for me was frustrating, comical and enlightening. I hope I never do that to a client or friend or another agent.

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 31, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Glad you found what you were looking for. I have encountered the same thing, even setting up showings. You call to set up 123 Main and they want you to also show 234 NO.

    Our buyers pick out the homes they want to see not us. Unless we feel they really missed something great.

    Good lesson.

  4. Paula Henry

    November 1, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Missy – Like our clients, I looked at many online and rejected them. Sometimes, it was amenities; other times the neighborhood or distance from the freeway.

    Being the buyer was just as difficlt as selling.

  5. Bill Lublin

    November 1, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Paula: I related to your post because I have long said that REALTORS should be forced to move every couple of years just so we remember how stressful the process can be, no matter how experienced you are with it.

    I’m not sure that I find agents culpable for offering you things that are not hat you specified, since the home buying process for so many people as about learning what the existing housing stock is, and how it can meet the needs of the potential buyer. The person who told their agent that they wanted a 4 bedroom colonial and then ended up buying a 3 bedroom ranch home is almost apocryphal , so there should be some understanding for the submission of properties it features other than those requested by the potential buyer. I would find it unacceptable if the agent were to promote a property other than the one that the buyer indicated they had interest in, but I don’t think that was what you were talking about.

    @Missy, Though I hesitate to disagree with a lady I respect so much, I think a part of our job as agent is to submit to others all of the potential matches for their requests. If the co-op agent doesn’t want to show the property, they don’t have to, but we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest it.

  6. Paula Henry

    November 1, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Bill – I agree, I do applaud them for their efforts in represting their clients and listings, but you would not believe the ridculous homes offered to me.

    One agent from my office went through her complete inventory with me, trying to make one of the properties fit. Being a REALTOR, I had a better idea of what I wanted and would not be satisfied with anything less.

    I have seen buyers who have a list of “required” amenities, then go buy something we never thought they would.

    When I first meet a buyer, I have an information form for them to complete with a list of criteria they rate as either have to have, could live without or definitely do not want. I use the list to narrow down the available inventory and you’re right – sometimes they buy something which doesn’t resemble the list. It really depends on the experience of the buyer and whether this is home #1 or #4.

    This business is never the same day to day.

  7. Karen Rice

    November 2, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Quote: I have seen buyers who have a list of “required” amenities, then go buy something we never thought they would.

    EXACTLY! I had lakefront buyers last summer who ran me ragged. They DEMANDED a certain sized cabin on a POWERBOAT LAKE THAT ALLOWED JET SKI’s. The jet ski and cabin size was for them a deal breaker/maker, or so I thought.

    I could have showed them other homes but they actually were annoyed with me when I sent them something “close” to what they wanted (either the cabin was too big, or something.) They made it clear what they wanted.

    Imagine my surprise when they called me one day with “terrific news.” They found a cabin at least an hour north of where they told me they wanted to be, but no, they don’t allow jet ski’s but oh well, can’t have everything right? Thanks for your help but we’re buying this FSBO.

    Seems like you’re gonna get shafted either way – by looking strictly for what they want, or trying to nudge them into something SIMILAR to what they want but NOT QUITE.

    Give these agents a break. They’ve probably gotten “scammed” by “lying buyers” who said one thing but bought another – from someone else who gave them something “similar” to what they wanted.

  8. Paula Henry

    November 2, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Karen – I think your scenario has happened to us all and the frustration is incredible. I have also had clients who have bought something which was nothing like what they started out searching for.

    The big difference and my take away in this instance, was, I am an experienced home buyer who is downsizing, in addition to being a REALTOR, so I knew what I wanted.

    I belive this holds true for the majority of people who are downsizing. Through the years, they (I) have learned what is most important to me; what we can and can’t live without and what we are willing to change should we not find the perfect home.

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