Although I pride myself on being pretty darn patient with my clients who are searching for that perfect home here in Alexandria and while I assure them they should take as much time as they need to feel comfortable with their home buying decision, wow, until I started going out with my husband out to look for a new house for us, I was not prepared for what a PITA client *I* was going to turn out to be.
After looking at dozens of homes (not to mention dozens more online), all of which met our needs ON PAPER, I realized the other night how seriously out-of-control I apparently was when I heard my husband uttering these words, “well, with the dirt that they dig up for the new pool, they could fill in the other pool and we could build the patio over that. We wouldn’t have to worry about removing the other pool.”
The problem he was trying to solve? A house we sort of like has an enclosed pool adjacent to the house but I don’t like where the pool is.
When my husband starts talking about filling in a practically-new-perfectly-good-not-inexpensive pool in order to build another not-inexpensive pool (something in which he has absolutely zero interest, I must add), something is seriously out of whack in the universe. (Or perhaps he is as tired of the indecision as I am and simply wants it to be over). Of course, if I LOVED LOVED LOVED the house, I wouldn’t be making such a big deal over the pool…problem is, I want to like the house, but, I just don’t even though it has every single thing – every thing – I said I wanted.
We have seen a number of houses we really like, all of which come with “but we would need to….” qualifiers ranging from the simple to the ridiculous. Electric cooking? Blech. Electric heat? No way. Only one bathroom? Really? Seriously? No. What do you mean, this area doesn’t have cable? How do you get, uh, your high speed internet? Oh, you don’t. Hmmm…no.
Is the perfect house out there? I don’t know. Have I have done a 180 degree turn from my “ABSOLUTELY-MUST-HAVE-NO-COMPROMISE-CONSIDERED” list? Oh, yeah. And the hunt continues, with ever expanding parameters.
Sometimes as an agent – I readily admit and suspect I am not alone – I get a wee bit frustrated when I have looked and looked and previewed for clients only to have them say, “nope, this isn’t it” when everything – EVERYTHING!!! – is telling me it SHOULD be it. How can this NOT BE IT? Come on! It has absolutely everything you told me you wanted. Seriously, this really isn’t it?
It’s even more frustrating when they suddenly start sending ME listings they have found in LISTINGBOOK that aren’t AT ALL what they told me they wanted…frustrating because I feel *I* should have found those listings for them, but…but…but they weren’t what they said they wanted.
But, I do understand. Totally. Sometimes we really DO have to look at a lot of properties – and a lot of totally different properties – before our clients can start to hone in on what their priorities REALLY are. Sometimes what they discover surprises even them.
While it is critical to listen to what our clients say, it’s also important to be a little creative in our searches, too….and when it becomes apparent they are no longer sure of what they really want, it’s even more important to have our antennae up for those important clues that will help us help them.
Through it all, we need to be flexible and empathetic – folks cannot always articulate WHAT they want until they have had a chance to work through some things in their minds and with each other.
At the end of the day, we need to go with the flow sometimes and trust our client’s intuition. And we also need to resist the impulse to call them liars.