5 Compromises Worth Making When Buying a Home

Home buyers often start their search with a list of must-haves ... only to find they need to cut it way down once they see what's within reach. Unless you're a bazillionaire, it's impossible to check all the boxes on the wish list. So, how do you decide what pieces of your dream home to hack off?

Expect to compromise. If you get 80% of what you want, you’ve done very well.

Here’s a list of common concessions home buyers make.

No. 1: Location - It's one of the first things agents say their clients are willing to budge on. You may want to find a home that is within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and public transportation, but not on your living space. After all, you live in the home. Sometimes these homes are too small to fit your needs, or the larger in-town homes are simply above your price range. So the dream of a walk-to-town location very often will get removed from a buyer’s must-have list.

No. 2: Square Footage - not everyone is adamant about doing everything they can to keep from downsizing. After all, if you're willing to skip that guest room, playroom, or dining room, you may be able to stay within your budget and live in a nicer neighborhood.

The reward is in not paying long term for family and friends to be able to stay in your home. So, if you're hoping to discourage the in-laws from spending three weeks with you each summer, this compromise could really work out. However, if your space needs might grow in the near future - say, if your family is expanding - you might want to think twice before moving into a tight squeeze.

No. 3: Yard size - buyers fantasize about landscaping a sweeping garden, or at least having an outdoor pool or hot tub—until they see what they have to pay or give up to get it.

When it comes to describing their dream home, buyers frequently say they want a large backyard. But after seeing lots of places, buyers realize that the size of the backyard is not as important as the spaciousness of the interior of the home.

When asked, home buyers to qualify what they mean by a ‘large' backyard, the answer is almost always the same: large enough to fit a swingset. So that means they have more homes to choose from, especially when inventory is low. They also prefer a flat backyard to enjoy with their family and friends.

No. 4: Awesome garage - first-time home buyers who are moving from an urban area to the suburbs, are often surprised that not all homes have a two-car garage. Older homes, built in the early 1920s and 1930s frequently do not. While there are homes that do not have a garage at all, buyers will compromise and buy a home that has a one-car garage if the home meets the other items on their must-have list.

Buyers are often flexible on the type of garage as well. Some garages are detached, buyers can’t enter directly into the home from the garage. And some single-car garages are attached to the house.

No. 5: Specific architecture – if you've always pictured yourself in a Craftsman bungalow, until you saw the asking price and then suddenly find yourself smitten with a Cape Cod, it's OK; you're not alone.

Be it the architectural style of the house or type of kitchen counters, those things are some of the first things buyers say that they want. But when compromises have to be made and they've had time to look at homes and consider their budget, the home's aesthetics usually are the thing they choose to overlook.