We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again: One of you wants a trendy condo in the heart of downtown D.C. and the other wants a big house an hour outside the city with a two-car garage on half an acre of land. So, how do we bridge the divide? Truth be told, it isn’t easy.
It starts by asking the right questions. Think about what each of you actually wants out of your lifestyle instead of the end result. For example, instead of knowing that you want a condo in Logan Circle, think about what it is you like about what living in Logan Circle would provide you. Maybe you want to be close to friends, still feel young, or maybe you simply just want to live in a neighborhood where you can walk to the grocery store, a restaurant, fitness studio and wine bar within a few blocks. To the other party, why do you want the big house with land? Do you need room to entertain family? A yard for the dog or kids to run and play? Do you want to be farther from your neighbors or have more peace and quiet?
Now, it’s time to really think about your answers. Is the neighborhood or situation you had in mind the only one that will provide you that lifestyle? Maybe, but more often, there are other neighborhoods and styles of homes that will provide you that experience. Once we discuss your actual goals, we’ll organize one of our unique Neighborhood Orientation Tours to explore neighborhoods that fit one or both of your needs. Before going on the tour, try to keep an open mind. As you explore each neighborhood and type of property, try to come up with things you like both about your neighborhoods and homes, as well those that fit your partner’s needs. We’ll also introduce you to some neighborhoods and types of homes that will give you some of what each of you are seeking.
What comes next isn’t easy: It’s time to compromise. Where the two of you will ultimately settle is up to you. With all of our buyers, we advise thinking about the four pillars of buyer compromise: price, location, condition and size. Most couples end up settling for something in the middle of what they initially wanted. For example, a neighborhood where you can buy a smaller, single-family home with a small yard and is still walkable to restaurants. Other times, one party will realize that the other party’s wants and needs make more sense for their situation.
One option in this scenario is to find a starter home in a transitional neighborhood and to move up to the larger house in a few years. Ultimately, only the two of you can make this decision, but we are always happy to serve as a guide. We are always happy to talk through the process and show you neighborhoods or types of homes that could be a win-win for everyone. Contact us if we can help.
Allison Goodhart DuShuttle is lead agent for The Goodhart Group, Alexandria’s and McEnearney Associates’ top-producing real estate team. In 2015, she was nationally recognized by Realtor Magazine, being named to its “30 Under 30” club. Reach her at 703-362-3221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.