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Ask McEnearney: What is ‘the 85% perfect home’ and how does it help buyers?

This week’s Q&A column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual format. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact us at 703-549-9292. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What is “The 85% Perfect Home” and How Does It Help Buyers?

Answer: Seeking perfection is noble but it could cost you in this market.

We’ve all read the industry reports and heard buyers’ distress about the lack of inventory in our area. Interest rates have stabilized but are still much higher than what’s been available for most of the last decade. Listings are few, competition is fierce and homes are getting snapped up at top dollar. In a very hot seller’s market, what’s a buyer to do?

Enter “The 85% Perfect Home.” In the HGTV-era, this challenges the notion that the “perfect” home is out there and that all a buyer has to do is wade through multiple listings to find “The One” that will deliver exactly what they want. But this kind of thinking can lead to buyer frustration because holding out for perfection can often mean missing out on an otherwise great home.

As we recently wrote about on our company website, even in this hot seller’s market more than half the homes on the market are taking more than two months to sell and are selling at a discount. That’s a lot of inventory that’s being overlooked in the pursuit of perfection.

McEnearney Associates recently held a panel with a number of agents to brainstorm ways to help clients find properties that are within their budget, fit with their timeline, and helped solve their housing needs. Here are suggestions from our agents who have successfully helped their buyer clients get unstuck from the belief that the home had to be perfect to be theirs.

Rebecca McCullough

Don’t get stuck on things that are beyond your control like rising interest rates and limited inventory. Figure out what you can afford now. If you are motivated to move, you buy within those means. If last year that was a $1million house and this year it’s an $800,000 house, that’s just the way it is. Stop living for last year’s market.

Renneye Pike

Bring a foldable paper template of your largest or can’t-live-without pieces of furniture that includes the floor parameters as well as height dimensions. This will allow you to see if the house fits your needs logistically but it can also give you an idea of how you will live in it.

Kate Crawley

Is this home meant to be your “Forever Home” or is this a stepping stone? Younger buyers can expect life changes that mean they’ll be shopping for a larger home or taking a job in another area sooner than they expect.

Shagufta Hasan

Think of the “Pareto 80/20 Rule” and how it applies to how you’d live in your house. If 80 percent of your time is spent in 20 percent of your dwelling, then focus on the spaces that you will be using the most. For example, don’t elevate the importance of a dining room if you’re only using it for special occasions.

Gordon Wood

Especially for buyers who move here from less competitive markets, reaching even 70-80% in a home is a win! You can learn that in the first week, or you can take a year to learn that lesson. But there’s a chance that you will miss “The Right Home” by searching for “The Perfect Home” for too long.

Another good suggestion is that buyers can also enlist the advice of a contractor to help see past the current floorplan and price out changes big or small that could make the property fit what you’re looking for. Just having an expert set of eyes to envision how moving a wall here or a doorway there can open up possibilities that are within your budget. Agents have these contacts at their fingertips so don’t be afraid to ask!

Buyers have many concerns that can prevent them from buying a home: paying too much, buying a home that’s not in good condition, missing out on a better property, and more worries. These are valid reasons to keep looking but it’s as important in homebuying as it is in life to know that perfection is almost always unattainable.

Make the best decision with the information and circumstances at this moment and heed the advice of experienced agents who are here to get you into a home that you can make just right for your needs. 

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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