Radio talk show host (WKXL) Chris Ryan was reminiscing with Steve Labbe, owner of Paradigm Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, who had just told Chris that his son was buying his first house. “You remember those first things that happen, like your graduation, your first car, your first house, and what you had to do to earn your firsts. I certainly understand how important this is for your son, you, and your family.”
Steve commented, “My son is already measuring rooms, and looking at room colors.
Chris added, “With all that’s happening with COVID, it’s these kinds of things that happen in people’s lives, that they are experiencing and thinking back to their own firsts now.
Steve said, “It’s so tough today, though, because there are fewer houses available on the market. You also have to think how to strategically grab the deal. Maybe it requires a little luck.” He chuckles.
Chris went on to say, “It’s the patience you have to deal with, too, to make sure you have the right house. But in a seller’s market does it change the buyer’s view?”
Steve thought about that. “Some people take the view ‘it was meant to be’. When I was first looking, I didn’t get the house. I was crushed. But then, I found another and got a better house. It was meant to be.”
“You have to fall in love with the house. You can’t be complacent, such as saying things like, ‘I guess I can live with the neighborhood.’ You have to consider other expenses, such as for moving and changing your internet – all these other bills that will come up after you buy.”
Chris countered, “So you want this house, and then you don’t get it. It’s frustrating. You also have to consider what’s the school district? What do you have for land? And what about the home inspection – how will it go? But it can be tough going through a checklist multiple times.”
“It’s also difficult to give advice on settling for something, especially when you consider the amount of time involved to go through the entire process. Should people sacrifice at all? I think you should be near that 100% goal of what you want. Or do you think people should compromise?”
Steve answered, “It’s a loaded question. You know how people make decisions. It’s going to plague some people who don’t make good decisions. You really have to envision what the house will look like. What you will turn it into.”
He went on to say, “Some things people don’t think of, like who your next-door neighbor is. We met our neighbor and he was wonderful. My son didn’t meet his neighbor until the day before closing. If I were to move again, I would check out the neighbors first to get a feel for who they are.”
Chris said, “You have to be smart about your list. Often your list doesn’t include the neighbors, the boiler, the underground things. You also need to be smart about the expenses. For example, our property had tons of bushes and trees. We ended up spending a small fortune to remove them.”
Steve chuckled, “I am somewhat of an arborist. We need to move our leach field. So, we are in the process or removing trees and the yard looks like a construction zone.”
“Here are a few other things to add to the list,” suggested Chris. “Cost of mortgage payments, school district, neighbors, where the closets are, what’s going on in the walls, things the inspection might turn up, the boiler, roof concerns, and roots under the driveway pavement. For the neighbors, it’s a good idea to knock on the door and ask about the neighborhood.”
Steve noted, “The biggest deal about the neighborhood for me was barking dogs.”
Chris added, “How about people with chickens in their yard? Think about them coming over to your yard and having a party!
“Like cars, you have to remove the emotion, but at the same time you have to fall in love with the house.”
“You know,” Steve mentioned, “we’re coming across things like extra tools – such as hoses and rakes. When you are older like us, and you see your son or daughter going through this process, … well, I am just having fun!