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Old 07-20-2016, 12:15 PM
7,464 posts, read 4,117,321 times
Reputation: 15437


I'm looking for my retirement home. Where I'll hopefully spend the rest of my life. I have a list of must-haves for the property, and a list of "wants, but not requirements," and a sort of list of "don't want or don't like" features.

I think my lists are reasonable, but sometimes I wonder, since I'm not finding what I want.

I haven't been working with a realtor, since I don't think they'd put up with me. For every house I consider, I look it up on the appraisal district and measure the lot, since most realtors don't provide lot size. One of my requirements is a decent sized, or somewhat larger than normal, yard (gardening, dogs, space). I have worked short term with two realtors, but when they saw I wouldn't buy right away, they drifted away, and I didn't contact them again because they were either dishonest or too pushy.

I would think my requirements are fairly normal, and I know the real estate market is low on inventory in my area, but is it possible I'm being too picky?

I bought a house in 1993 and had to hunt like a safari hunter to find the right house. I was about to give up, when I found the right house. I never regretted it. It was a great house and location. One realtor kept showing me just anything and everything, despite having told him what I didn't want. I changed realtors and she found this little known area that had what I wanted.

Is there a way to tell I'm being too particular? In a nutshell, what I want is:

Spacious yard (with grass...not half covered with patio or whatever)
Walkable neighborhood
Attractive architecture in some way (from contemp to cottage to whatever)
At least 2 baths (2 1/2 if 2-story)
City water & sewer
Reasonably close to amenities (not rural)
Good floor plan that flows and makes sense (like the only access door to back yard is smack in middle of den, requiring people to walk through conversation area or tv viewing to go outside...and hard to notice dog wanting to come in if I'm in the kitchen)
Back yard at least mainly fenced
Garage (as opposed to carport)

Mature trees
Open concept
Jacuzzi tub
Crown molding
Good roof
A/C not too old
Energy efficient windows & doors
House facing N-S (2nd choice, back yard faces E)
Light colored brick (tan, beige, etc.)

Galley kitchen
Prior or current serious foundation problems
A house without easy access to back yard from kitchen or laundry area (for muddy dogs & muddy shoes)
Anything weird with neighboring properties that would interfere with quiet enjoyment of my house (like a neighbor's tennis court built right up to the fence)
A house whose brick is a definite orange (I call it Burger King orange)

House on dead-end street, unless the street is very short

I am willing to:
Replace countertops and backsplashes
Install jacuzzi tub
Repaint entire interior in colors I prefer
Finish fencing back yard
Replace doors
Repaint exterior trim

I do NOT care about:
Size of bedrooms or bathrooms
Yr house was built
That there are new granite countertops
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:18 PM
Location: North Idaho
23,513 posts, read 30,126,714 times
Reputation: 46512
Perhaps if you can't find what you want, you need to up, perhaps considerably, what you are willing to pay.
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:34 PM
7,464 posts, read 4,117,321 times
Reputation: 15437
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
Perhaps if you can't find what you want, you need to up, perhaps considerably, what you are willing to pay.
I've looked. All that gets me is more square footage. Nothing that meets my requirements. I don't want more square footage...so paying more actually gets me a less desirable home.

I've run across some really low priced homes that met my requirements....except they were in bad neighborhoods (hence the low price). They were cute homes. Too bad they were in those neighborhoods. I didn't put "nice or decent neighborhood" in my list of must-haves, since I thought that'd go w/o saying.
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:50 PM
1,585 posts, read 1,467,127 times
Reputation: 4939
I don't think you are being too particular, you are looking for a house to spend the rest of your life in. It's going to take a while like your last house, but you will get what you want.

I'd throw your list out to a Realtor here and there, with crystal clear instructions, on your must haves and be upfront if they show you junk that doesn't meet your criteria, fire them.
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:55 PM
Location: Sugarmill Woods , FL
6,235 posts, read 6,119,536 times
Reputation: 13654
Build new home exactly as you desire. Cost may or may not dictate what is realistic to do.
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:58 PM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
45,689 posts, read 43,920,196 times
Reputation: 88644
Are you serious about buying, or are you "shopping"?? This:

Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
I have worked short term with two realtors, but when they saw I wouldn't buy right away, they drifted away...
... does not make that clear.

I think you SHOULD work with an agent, if you're serious about buying. A reputable, professional agent who knows the area would be patient enough to work with you if you explain that you don't want to be guided toward buying just any house.

Wanting a larger-than-usual yard is not part of the typical retirement home description. Most people want less yard to take care of.

But you want what you want. Maybe what you want is not standard in your area.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:16 PM
8,065 posts, read 1,878,069 times
Reputation: 19185
I feel your pain. My husband and I are in the same position, although we have only five "must-haves".

We have been looking for about two years in our desired retirement area (Lakes Region, New Hampshire), and to get even just three of our "musts" in an existing home -- and again, all five are non-negotiable -- we would have to spend at least $250K upfront and an additional $50k, minimum, in remodeling. Therefore, we are now thinking about buying land now and building later. We figure we would rather spend about $25k more (about $325k total vs. $300K) to get EXACTLY what we want and have brand new construction, as well.

(Btw, to clarify, our ideal home would only be about 1400 s.f.)
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:30 PM
Location: Phoenix AZ
6,057 posts, read 11,543,252 times
Reputation: 9629
If what you want doesn't come on the market but every x years(or doesn't exist in the market you're looking in) , you're too picky. I'd suspect that though your written list of requirements sounds reasonable, the implementation of that list might well be lacking.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:34 PM
Location: Denver CO
21,798 posts, read 12,486,442 times
Reputation: 33570
I think part of the issue may be that some of your list is subjective. At least in terms of working with an agent, it would be hard to know what to show you because things like "attractive architecture" and "good floor plan" are subjective.

In general, no, I don't think your list sounds too picky in the sense that it might not exist. It does sound picky enough that it's going to take a while. And in reality, you aren't going to get everything on your list. It just never happens that way.

But I think that you might need to be a little more flexible in terms a house that has all of your musts to start with vs. one that could accommodate your musts with some work. Some of your musts are relatively easy fixes although of course a little time and money would be required. But it's not that hard to fence a yard or to build a garage, esp. if there is room there already from a carport.

What does yard not covered with a patio mean? Is it ok if there's a patio as long as the rest of the yard beyond that is large enough? I would think that one could be pretty problematic if you are saying you want 100% grass and no deck or patio at all, since it seems like the majority of people prefer having one as a way to enjoy their yard. But again, you could always tear something out and re-sod the yard if that's what you wanted.

I'd say your chances for success would go up if you are flexible about what you are willing to change to end up with exactly what you want. That could of course affect the finances, if you would have to put more money into it. So that's where increasing your budget comes in. Always seems to come down to that, doesn't it? lol!
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:44 PM
10,190 posts, read 7,323,349 times
Reputation: 23979
So I am going to be a bit of a bummer, but being this is your retirement home...you may want to put a must have as "main floor living" (bedroom, full bath, laundry all on the main level) as a huge priority. I mean hopefully you will be living in it until a ripe old age and nothing puts someone in a nursing home faster then having a house that can't suit their needs as they age. The rest...I don't know. Your list is detailed but if the inventory is large enough, I am sure you can find it.
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