Who decides where you live?
A. Your real estate agent
B. Your parents or some other relative
C. Your friends
D. Your co-workers
The correct answer to this question is E- You, but sadly I see options A, B, C, and D occurring quite often. This really isn’t how it should be, but sometimes it’s the reality. Here’s how it happens…
Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent should be a wealth of information during your home search. However, one area they should have no opinion on is where you choose to live. As long as you can afford to purchase the property that’s of interest to you, they should not care what town or neighborhood it’s in. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: It is completely, totally, unquestionably ILLEGAL for real estate agents to steer people when they are making their decision to purchase a home. If your agent is offering their opinion on towns or neighborhoods you should stay away from, tell them to cut it out, stop working with them, and/or report them to their broker. They do not have your best interests in mind.
Most of us like to see Mom and Dad happy. It’s nice to get parental approval on our big decisions in life. This is even more important if your parents (or another relative) are contributing financially toward your home purchase. So what happens when your parents say they don’t want you living in a certain town or a certain neighborhood that you find appealing? Do you thank them for their advice and tell them that you’re an adult so you can make an informed decision on what’s right for you? Or do you follow their advice and look in areas that they deem acceptable?
Your Friends and Co-Workers
Friends and co-workers are kind of like parents, it’s nice to have their approval. Unfortunately, peer pressure exists even in adulthood. If you’re relocating to an area, it’s easy to go to your co-workers or new friends and ask where they think you should live. You’ll almost always get a response that their town or neighborhood is the best. If you bring up other towns or areas that they’re not familiar with or comfortable with, they’ll let you know that it’s probably not right for you either. You really need to do your own due diligence and determine which towns and neighborhoods you’re comfortable with, not just blindly rely on the opinions of others. Take the time to explore and ask probing questions that will help you find the right areas that meet your needs.
Homebuyers often lose sight of the big picture when bombarded with unsolicited advice. Sometimes others have useful advice from their general experience or local market knowledge, but they like to give comprehensive recommendations that extend beyond their areas of expertise. The key point to remember is that our families, friends and co-workers are not going to be living in our house. They’re not going to be paying the mortgage either. The challenge is to filter out the informed opinions from the generalities and stereotypes.