An observation I’ve made here and literally to every one of my past and present buyers is that no one ever purchases a new home without accepting compromise.
While that’s true, I also believe that buyers should not fail to appreciate what is important to them. Some compromises ought to be unacceptable to some buyers, for example:
- A family of two adults and two very young children shouldn’t settle for a two-bedroom apartment with one bath, even if they plan to divide one of the bedrooms in half or turn a windowless room into a nursery;
- Consumers for whom style is everything shouldn’t trade-off the glamor of the penthouse they have found for the gloom of a poorly kept lobby, the slow arrival of a lone elevator, the tawdry color of the hallways, the shabbiness of the façade or the persistence of loiterers in the building next door;
- Couples for whom regular dinner parties are key to their lifestyle must bear in mind the limits of a galley kitchen with room for but one cook;
- Parents with infants should not downplay the absence of a washer/dryer in their unit;
- If sunshine is a mandatory requirement, no amount of recessed lighting can make up for all exposures facing a grim courtyard;
- When quality matters, laminate flooring, second-rate appliances, aged bathroom tiles and clumsily repaired woodwork just won’t cut it;
- Nor will “cozy” room proportions gladden the heart of a claustrophobic;
- The new apartment may be as welcoming as a broker at an open house, but a surly doorman — or none at all — can dim the pleasure of your arrival home;
- Even beautiful rooms may cease to please the homeowner who thought an awkward layout would be manageable;
- A couple of flights of stairs may not be a big deal a few times prior to closing until you have to put up with the inconvenience of carrying shopping bags or coping with a newborn literally for years;
- That ignored odor, yapping dog and overbearing neighbor are certain to get on your nerves in time;
- And the perfect apartment is imperfect compensation for that long walk to the subway on a rainy or wintry day.
While it is true that money can fix many defects, there are those that remain immutable.
What seems like an itch that easily can be scratched may, in time, grow into more like a pain in the butt. It can become a gnawing reminder of an avoidable mistake.
Even if a property’s price takes into account those drawbacks of an apartment or townhouse that cannot be eliminated, buyers are well advised to understand that only a small segment of the future market will have an interest in their home.
It will take a long time to sell, and at a discount.
Meantime, tomorrow’s sellers who are today’s buyers will have to live with their regrets day after day.
A willingness to compromise is a good thing. An ability to know the long-term consequences of doing so is even better.
Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup
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Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022