Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A homebuyer’s shopping guide

From page C2 | February 03, 2012 |

My wife Vicki has banished me from grocery shopping with her. We are no longer compatible. To her shopping is like an archeological adventure. Her map is the weekly advertised specials. She journeys up and down each aisle of the store frequently checking her list until she discovers the location of the item. Then she carefully examines the contents, evaluating its weight, ingredients and grams of fat before matching it with her list and finally placing the item in the shopping cart. This process can take days.

My responsibility had always been opening the plastic produce bags and navigating the shopping cart around store obstacles of other shoppers and unattended children. These shared responsibilities worked for many years until she discovered Internet coupons. Internet coupons differ from the store’s weekly advertised specials. The items don’t exist or are purposely hidden. Grocery shopping has now become a journey, taking about the same amount of time it took for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. For me shopping is a task to be dispensed as quickly as possible. I can easily pick up a week’s supply of food and be through the self-check-out in a few minutes. Pretzels, beer, beef suitable for grilling, sourdough bread and I’m out of there.

Everyone is a little different when making a buying decision on products or services. Good real estate agents intuitively respond to their clients’ different personalities and approaches to selecting a home. Buying a home is a big decision. Unlike a can of soup, once escrow has closed the return process is difficult. Here are a few pointers that I routinely discuss with my clients.

“You may feel a little pressure.” That’s what my dentist tells me before he inserts a needle the length of a football field into my mouth. Nobody likes pressure and hasty decisions made under pressure are usually not the best. Some buyers may feel some psychological pressure to make a commitment on a particular home. A few agents effectively use or actually instigate that tension. When a buyer begins to feel the pressure it’s time to take a break and examine those feelings or get another agent.

Shopping for a home should be a fun and exciting time. The relationship with their agent should be comfortable and professional. Appointments for previewing homes should be more than selecting a property. It’s an opportunity for buyers to educate themselves by asking their agent, questions about financing, home ownership and the homebuying process.

“I’ll know it when I see it.” That’s a statement I hear often from impulsive buyers. They are short on specific requirements but quick to judge a home. They trust their instincts to a fault and discount cautionary advice. Once they find the right house they become too emotionally attached to it, often dismissing defective issues discovered during the inspection process. A few years ago while showing a home to an impulsive buyer client, she told the seller that she loved the house and wasn’t going to look at another. Against my advice, my client offered full price. After closing, the listing agent told me the seller would have accepted much less. Impulsive buyers need to guard against thinking there is only one special home for them. They need to be emotionally prepared to walk away from the deal if warranted.

My analytical buyers usually know more about the property and the neighborhood than I do. They have already researched the schools, looked up the value of every neighborhood home on Zillow and can tell me how long the home has been on the market. Before making an offer they will call in their cadre of advisors including: inspectors, contractors, family and friends, carefully weighing the pros and cons of making an offer. They frequently visit the property measuring the rooms for furniture placement. While all that assessment is taking place someone else is making an offer.

If the initial impression of a home is favorable and it appears to be priced competitively, chances are the other buyers will feel the same way. There is ample time after an offer is accepted for a detailed analysis of the property. Making an offer is only one small step in the entire purchase process. Standard contracts contain ample opportunities to re-evaluate that initial decision. Rarely is a buyer’s deposit at risk.

The price is always less expensive someplace else. A home’s price is naturally important but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Paying a little more for the better location will be appreciated while living in the home and rewarded upon resale. Generally, less expensive homes requiring obvious minor repairs have other deferred maintenance issues disguised someplace else. A home that comes with property disclosures is more valuable than one without any disclosures or seller warranties.

El Dorado County’s median selling price of $264,000 is the highest in our eight-county region. There is a reason. County homebuyers believe they are receiving more overall value here than someplace else. A home is more than square footage with a roof. Buyers are paying for our top ranking schools, crime free neighborhoods, and an abundance of parks and recreational opportunities. That quality of life is not always available in other counties. Often the old adage about getting what you pay for is true whether you are shopping for tomatoes or a home.

Ken Calhoon is a real estate broker in El Dorado County. He can be reached through his Website





Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery



My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4



EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post



Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery



At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8