How to Avoid House Hunter’s Letdown


Any real estate agent can tell stories of first-time homebuyers who came into the game with bright eyes and bushy tails. These first-time buyers were eager to get started on the quest to find the perfect home. Months later, their bright eyes had dimmed and their bushy tails looked ragged. House hunter’s letdown had set in.

House hunter’s letdown is a very real phenomenon. It is almost always the result of unreasonable expectations. Buyers start looking for homes without a realistic understanding of what to expect. They look at house after house, only to come out the other end feeling discouraged because they couldn’t find what they wanted.

Fortunately, the house hunter’s letdown is not inevitable. It is also not required. According to the good folks at CityHome Collective in Salt Lake City, Utah, adopting the right mindset is the antidote to house hunter’s letdown.

The Perfect House Doesn’t Exist

The foundation of a proper house hunting mindset is understanding that the perfect house does not exist. Forget what you’ve seen on television. The fact is that every house has its pros and cons. Most houses have their shortcomings. If you refuse to make an offer until you find the perfect house, an offer will never be made. You will be left with a house hunter’s letdown in the end.

Distinguish Between Wants and Needs

Realtors are known to encourage their clients to create a list of needs and wants. Beginning the house-hunting process with that list in hand helps both real estate agents and buyers choose the right houses to look at. However, there are one additional step buyers should take: distinguishing between wants and needs.

A need is something you absolutely cannot live without. For example, perhaps you have two children: one boy and one girl. It will be unrealistic to expect them to share a room once they hit the preteen years. Therefore, a third bedroom is a need. By the same token, you may want a fourth bedroom for guests. But how often do guests visit? One or two visits per year do not constitute a need. That fourth bedroom is a want.

Consider What Can Be Changed

Hand-in-hand with the list of needs and wants is knowing the types of things that can be changed in a typical house. Flooring is an example. You might prefer a home with hardwood floors over carpets. That’s fine. But guess what? Flooring can be changed. You might have to settle for a fully carpeted home with the understanding that you will eventually rip the carpet out and refinish the wood underneath.

Things that can be changed may alter your list of wants and needs. Remember that there are certain things that cannot be changed. You will not be able to remove a load-bearing wall, for example, to create a bigger kitchen for a large family. So perhaps the size of the kitchen in that house you looked at yesterday takes the property out of the running.

Keep Your Imagination in Check

Finally, you can take a big step toward avoiding the house hunter’s letdown by keeping your imagination in check. Do not lie awake at night dreaming of what your new home might be. If you do, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. Let your thoughts be only in the context of the properties your real estate agent has told you to expect to see.

House hunter’s letdown is real. But you do not have to experience it yourself. Go into the home buying process with the right mindset and you should come out the other end all smiles.