Advice for buying a home: ignore the peanut gallery!

Among all the other challenges of purchasing a home, today’s buyer often has an added burden: the advice of friends, co-workers and family.

And what do these well-meaning-advice givers saying their very ‘knowing’ tones of voice? Well, a sampling of advice might include:

(a) How dirt cheap ‘those foreclosures’ are;
(b) How much of a discount you should be able to negotiate;
(c) Exactly how much is too much for you to pay, or,
(d) That banks/sellers are sooo desperate to sell.

I recall a first-time homebuyer with whom I was working deciding to withdraw his offer on a property that did meet his criteria for location and amenities and price point.

Why? His co-workers thought he should be able to get a ‘bargain-basement’ price. He told me, “I don’t want to look like a fool paying too much money for this place.” So he let it go… and, he still has not found his perfect home in combination with his perfect price scenario. Or at least, the price that his co-workers insist he ‘should’ be able to get.

Nothing is ever ‘simple’ that is meaningful…. including purchasing a home. The simplicity of advice from someone who reads a headline, but has no idea of the real market dynamics you face, is a typical example of that.

And what are the special dynamics for many buyers in today’s climate? Well, let’s consider:

  • Banks and/or investor lenders who can take up to five or six months to decide whether on or to accept an offer;
  • Limited inventory of homes to consider;
  • Multiple offers on properties of good value within hours of the listing becoming public;
  • Upside down sellers who find it impossible to consider a low-ball offer because they owe so much more on their properties than the current market value.

What to do? Research your market area well and consult a knowledgeable source for your information. Remember that ‘the market’ is an ever changing situation, and that few if any ‘rules’ consistently apply. Then move ahead.

This moment in time continues to be an incredible opportunity for buyers – prices are becoming increasingly more ‘reasonable’ and interest rates are low. Now is the moment. Ignore the peanut gallery.



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  1. Amen to that. While they mean well, friends and family can unknowingly sabotage a deal before it gets moving. Good post.

  2. Great point, thanks for sharing. I run into this regularly in Charleston SC, everyone seems to be a real estate expert these days. With interest rates so low and so many homes to choose from there has never been a better time to buy a home. I find that after a buyer lists all of the features they are want in a home the list of available homes quickly gets pretty short. Even in this slow market the good homes can get snapped up quickly. Getting input from friends and family is always important but in the end it is really the buyer’s decision. Buying a home is generally one of the largest financial decisions a person will ever make. Put a “buyer’s agent” to work and have the benefit of an experienced professional on your side. Your buyer’s agent is your advocate, your advisor, your negotiator, and your confidante throughout the buying process.

    1. I agree Dan… in the Seattle-Bellevue area, people’s perception of what is available to buy is not matching what is actually available. Our inventory is actually low according to historical standards, and as you said, the good homes are purchased quickly. I find many sellers with attractive homes are waiting for a better opportunity to sell… seems like so much in our country right now is on ‘hold.’

  3. So true!! The way I combat this is to mention it up front as something they will definetely run into. Then when they tell me the peanut gallery is in full force, I remind them that THEY know more about this market from our research and looking at homes than anyone else and they need to be confident about that. I say if they are not, we have more work to do. That almost always works!

    1. … thanks Linda! Great point, and one that I will remember to use.

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