A couple of days ago I told you about a recent experience that I just had with a first-time home buyer who made the smart decision to walk away from the first contract that she wrote after getting the building inspections.
To see the complete article, see: Sometimes a Buyer Should Walk Away (Part 1)
I want to tell you about another situation with a buyer that I’ve known for awhile.
A few years ago, I worked with a family that was relocating to the St. Louis area. We spent some time looking at a number of homes, and found a St. Charles County home that met all of their needs. But times change, and they’ve reconsidered what they really want in a home, and decided to start looking again last summer.
They called me a few months later and let me know that they had been talking to a builder and wanted me to represent them in purchasing a new home in a particular subdivision. (By the way, you really should call your agent BEFORE you start looking at new construction subdivisions, because many builders won’t let you have an agent represent you if you visited the subdivision on your own the first time).
I met my clients out at the subdivision so I could see the display of the house they were planning to build. I immediately noticed a big problem. My clients have two children, and they were looking at a ranch floor plan with the idea that they would have the master bedroom and a guest bedroom upstairs, and the kids would each have bedrooms in the finished basement.
The problem is that this floor plan only allowed for one true bedroom in the basement. Fire code dictates that each bedroom have a means of egress directly to the exterior of the building (that means a full size window or a door…and not one of the itty bitty basement windows that almost no one could use for escape in a panicky situation).
The buyers and builder’s salesperson had worked out a layout that had one of the kids in a room with no windows. My buyers had no idea that this could put their child in harm’s way if there was a fire. We spent a couple of hours looking at plans and walking the display, and finally came up with a solution that gave both children a window in their bedrooms.
The builder’s salesperson admitted to me when my buyers stepped away that she had been really nervous about the original plan, and was thrilled that I had talked them into a different layout. But, she works for the builder, and it isn’t her job to watch out for the buyer’s best interests…only to make the sale happen.
My buyers went home and agonized over the decision about whether to move forward, and they ultimately decided that the new floor plan just didn’t work for them. Since they now understood that they would be compromising their child’s safety if they went back to the original plan, they decided to walk away from this deal.
Could I have kept my mouth shut and let them build anyway?
Sure….but I wouldn’t have been doing job.
This situation was pretty black and white, but often the issues that face buyers agents are much less clear cut. When I talk to my clients about what they should consider before moving forward on a purchase, I give them the same advice I would give to my family and friends. If I wouldn’t want my sister to buy a particular house, I’m going to do everything I can to talk my clients out of buying it.
So, what happened to my buyers?
They’re still looking.
They actually came up with another house that they liked, but I thought was a huge financial risk given some things happening in the new construction market in St. Charles County. After talking about the financial risks involved, they decided to skip that one too. But that’s another story…
As a buyer’s agent, my job is not to just find my buyers a home, but to find them the RIGHT home that is a good investment. The next time you buy a home, keep in mind that you are not only looking for a place to live, but you are also moving your money into that house. Make sure it is not only the home of your dreams, but also a wise investment.