Yesterday I showed a new listing I have coming out to an agent and his client. The agent had sold the same 4200 square foot, 5 bed, 5 1/2 bath model about 8 houses down for $950,000 in late spring; a short sale that finally closed in September. The buyer of that home was a friend of this client and knew what her friend paid; had been to the home, seen their amenities and yard size. My listing, which sold in 2008 for $1,350,000, is unique because it’s “The Best”. It has the best (largest) lot, the best (fanciest) pool, the best (least obstructed) view and the best (most) amenities. In a word, the home is loaded with every conceivable bell and whistle: heated master bath tile floors; a 108″ drop down projection screen home theater with 7.1 surround sound, natural stone everything: showers, counters, fireplaces. The walnut distressed hard wood floors gleam as do the incredible cabinets, with hand carved grape leaf crown molding. The list just goes on when the home is “The Best”.
So we’re walking through the home and it’s obvious the client loves it. She spends time in the courtyard looking at the outdoor family room fireplace and the sliding awnings; she asked about the pool’s operating costs, which I explain are lower due to its solar heating on the roof. So without a word to her agent she says she’ll pay $50K more than her friend or $1,000,000. I chuckle and say, the pool alone is worth that, which her friend’s home doesn’t have. I explain to her only one person can own “The Best”. At this she chuckles too.
This banter continues for the better part of an hour as she reiterates her $1m offer, explaining to me that upgrades and amenities, lot size and view don’t justify a higher price, and what’s best to one isn’t to another; even how the home next door which is a short sale in escrow, she liked better (of course she’s lying, and we both know this). “This is the best of this model anywhere, you just can’t find better, because there isn’t,” I say, “and only one can own ‘The Best’.” “You are a good salesman,” she says, “Maybe you should buy it.” “I would if I could” I tell her. I explain that we may not agree on what “The Best” is, but surely we can agree that, “Only one can own ‘The Best’, and this, I believe, is it.” I continue, “You can always own the second best, but if you want to own ‘The Best’, you just have to pay the price; and it will cost a lot more than your friend’s.”
She’s bringing her husband back this weekend.
The reason I relate this story, is that during this tumultuous market, buyers have become so concerned and focused with the loss and potential loss of a property’s value, that they frequently lose sight of the things that are really important to them. I’m not suggesting that everyone has to buy “The Best”, or can even afford it, but rather that they buy the best they can at that time. A home is so much more than an investment. A home is your sanctuary; it’s a statement about who you are; it’s the place you create your most important memories; raise your family; determine where you’ll send your kids to school; share the final moments with those most important to you, for in this fleeting life, no one lives forever. A home quite simply, is more than a price per foot. When this client said, “Maybe you should buy it,” my heartfelt thoughts were, “Don’t I know it!”
Whether or not you can afford to buy “The Best”, and even what that “Best” is, only you can determine for you, but in my 21 years of selling real estate I know this much: I’d rather apologize for the payment once, than the quality forever… Zig Ziglar said that some 50 years ago and it still rings true today. And after all, only one can own “The Best.”