If a dream is driving your real estate search, you may be doing things the hard way. And the expensive way.
Although popular culture and every form of media encourage us to "dream big" about everything, this convincing social force is not committed to ensuring we make decisions in our own best interests. This persuasive force of "it’s only..." pricing and "must-have lists" shopping sets goals for buyers that are driven by the sell-sell-sell marketing vortex, not what makes sense for the needs and finances of individual buyers.
Too many real estate buyers are exhausted by the long, hard search necessary to find a real-life match for the "dream home" they mentally created based on what’s promoted in online postings, movies, and TV series. Affording the "dream home" may force them to take on debt beyond their dreams. This approach to buying real estate is like finding a horseshoe and then searching for a horse to fit it. Not the best decision-making process.
Entrepreneurs can be lured into chasing real estate dreams, too. Isn’t there a location near you that houses restaurant after restaurant or retail store after retail store for a few months before the "out of business" sign reappears? Those unresearched dreams take restauranteurs and retailers into premises with proven negative track records which should have red-flagged their dream of success. The following discussion centers on home ownership, but is fully applicable to buying or leasing business premises.
Building a mental real estate dream - a fantasy "dream home" to which you will commit your money and your time, present and future - does not necessarily achieve what you want, or guarantee happiness in the long run.
Misguided dreams can make buying real estate harder and more expensive for three very real reasons:
1. Success in purchasing and owning real estate is based on cold hard facts with flashes of hands-on inspiration. Getting buyers to buy, that is, selling real estate, is where dream-making marketing comes in. By following an unrealistic dream, aren’t you using your own hopes and finances to make it easier for someone else to "sell you?" Would it sound dreamy to you if the dream condominium unit or house you buy turns out to be more expensive and not as "cool" to live in as you fantasized?
2. Success in selecting the best real estate match is based on aligning cold hard facts about a property with well-grounded projections of potential and long-term alternatives. Searching for a property to match your dreams, instead of evaluating individual properties for their specific merit and pitfalls and then making a choice, can lead to buying for the wrong reasons, buying the wrong property, or buying at the wrong price. Staging, or visually enhancing the perception of value to targeted buyers, works well for sellers. Buyers who become distracted by clever make-overs and camouflaged flaws may pay for the dream through a larger-than-necessary mortgage which will most-likely out-live stainless steel appliances, "what’s hot" counter tops, and other stylish "must-haves" that were part of the dream.
3. Success in making a long-term commitment to the right property is based on clarifying exactly what can be accomplish through this specific real estate property and why. Dreams of "entertaining friends" and other short-term perspectives may not be realistic long-term reasons for committing to a specific property and its accompanying long-term mortgage debt. Common reactions to a well-presented living space are "this will be great for entertaining" or "I can’t wait until our friends see this." Buying full-time living space with "party time" expectations may prove expensive. How a home functions each day, each season, will mean more than the occasional house party.
Don’t stop dreaming. Just don’t make fantasy the driving force in goal setting and decision making. Real estate dreams based on long-term financial return, functionality, and liveable location are dreams that make the transition into reality with satisfaction and peace of mind.
Dream big, but think bigger than you can dream.
Your mental constructs only reflect all that you know and have been exposed to, not all the options that exist. Turn to experienced real estate professionals, who think "real estate" 24/7 and have for many years, to discover the full range of opportunities open to you.
Zero in on real estate that has not had a cosmetic overhaul and learn to visualize the potential yourself. Your renovation may cost less than you’ll pay for someone else’s make-over.
Talk to property owners who bought their home three to five years ago, and ask how their dream of ownership matched reality. Or, ask local experienced real estate professionals about the patterns they witness again and again.
Real estate professionals often refer to "making dreams come true" because they understand how to help transform dreams into liveable long-term reality. When buyers listen to this practical professional expertise, they benefit by making long-term decisions based on cold hard facts presented by the professional and enriched by:
- flashes of practical hands-on inspiration
- well-grounded practical projections of potential and long-term alternatives, and
- clarification of practical realities of all that can be accomplished through real estate ownership and why.
For real estate buyers and entrepreneurs, long-term thinking about the reality of ownership includes asking, "How will this property and its potential increase in value make my dreams of career, family, travel... you name it, come true?