“What do you like to do in your free time?”
That’s the #1 question I ask my buyers during the process of looking at houses. Here are some of the answers I get:
- I like to ski
- I like to climb and hike
- I love biking
- I need at least a few good restaurants around
- I love to cook
- My daughter likes to ride horses
- My husband does car racing
- We love to entertain
- I like peace and quiet most of all
- We would like to use this house as a family gathering place
The answer to this question provides 80% of the information I need to begin the process of finding a house for my clients. The Rest is gravy. I found that if and when my buyers find a house that fits into their life style, the smaller items become secondary. A fireplace can be build, a garage can be added, a basement can be finished. How much the home fulfills the life style criteria, is crucial.
If the buyer likes climbing above all else and I can find a home close to the Gunks, that’s a win. Whether it has 2 or 3 bedrooms, whether there’s central air conditioning or window units is not that important anymore once the basic need has been met. I found that people (myself included) are happy to compromise once the basics are covered.
We closed on the house below at the beginning of January. For both the seller and the buyer the transaction meant a change in life style. The buyer wanted a place on the water. He loved the Wallkill River and he fell in love with the location. The house needed work but because of the life style it provided, he was more than willing to ad some sweat equity.
The seller had lived in the house for close to 20 years. For her it was a matter of down sizing and changing her life style to one that was less involved in maintenance, lawn mowing, taking care of the house, etc. She had lived her dream and it was time to move on.
In both cases, the specifics of the house didn’t matter. It was the bigger question of what do we do once we’re in the house that gave the answer.
At first glance, you would think that the life style question only applies to second homes. In my opinion, it applies to everyone. It includes the budget, the schools, the closeness to the village, the closeness to shopping, how much a family with two kids has to drive to get the kids to birthday parties, etc. The above mentioned home was owned by a local person and bought by one and in both cases life style was the #1 motivating factor.
Below is a short video I took of the house for the listing. I shoot video with my Samsung phone and edit it directly on youtube. My goal is always to show the life style possibilities of the property.