Setting Realistic Home Buyer Expectations

Setting Realistic Home Buyer Expectations

When looking for a new home, it’s normal to have a list of home buyer expectations tailored toward your lifestyle. This could mean that you prioritize living near a shopping center since you don’t own a car, or that you’re near a public park, since you have a few dogs.

Want to be delighted with your new home? Start with realistic home buyer expectations.

While having a list of must-haves is a good way to narrow down your search, you don’t want to home buyer expectations to be unrealistic; it will leave you disappointed. For example, when looking for a new home, three commonly desired factors are price, quality, and location. You probably aren’t going to find a house that perfectly fits all three of these categories, so think about these three qualities, and then prioritize your house-hunting by focusing on the two that are most important to you.

Setting 3 Primary Home Buyer Expectations


Yes, you probably have a budget. This could be a ball park estimate considering your family’s income, positive equity on your current home, bonuses etc. To get an accurate maximum loan amount, complete a pre-approval application from a mortgage lender. Then you will know exactly how much home you can afford.

Setting realistic home buyer expectations as it pertains to home price can avoid the disappointment you might feel after finding the “perfect house” only to find you can’t afford it. Price is the most objective factor of the three qualities you look for in a home. You are either over or under your loan allowance. However, you can also think about it in the sense of what you can spend vs. what you actually want to spend. You may be able to purchase a $500,000 home, but whether you want to or not is another story.


The level of home buyer expectations you have when it comes to quality encompasses style of home, builder, interior/exterior finishes, re-sale vs. new-construction, remodel, and more. Having your heart set on a specific plan of a specific builder can lead to disappointment. The home may cost too much, or it may be in the wrong location.

Consider thinking about quality as it pertains to layout. If you need to have a master bedroom on the main floor, look for plans of other builders with that feature. Speak to custom builders. And if not, look outside of new construction. If you want a home with minimal maintenance, look for homes built after a certain year that are back on the market that have the master bedroom on the main floor. The key is to open your mind to similar quality features as the one style/layout you had in mind without narrowing in on only that one style/feature.


This is a big factor – and could even be the top factor for you – depending on your work/school situation. For example, say you work at Amazon in Seattle. While living in South Lake Union, just minutes from work, would be ideal, the price is likely to exceed what you can or want to pay. Consider looking in other parts of Seattle or neighboring cities. Is the longer commute worth a lower cost of living? That’s a question you need to ask yourself.

Another example is if you prefer to walk to all amenities, restaurants and other destinations. While living in downtown can be exciting and convenient to work, the price may also be more than what you can or want to spend. One way to avoid a long commute while still availing yourself of lower-priced neighborhoods is to look for homes for sale which are located near public transit routes.

So when buying a home, consider the importance of price, quality and location and set your home buyer expectations accordingly. To make it objective, rate each category from 1-10 on its importance to you and your family, and you’ll be left with your top two important factors. Just like anything else in life, if you set unrealistic expectations, you’re sure to be left disappointed in the end. Eliminate the disappointment early, and you’ll end up with a home you’re glad you chose!